One of ARTI’s best known members has encouraged her colleagues to avail of any opportunity to get involved with a sports team as a means of expanding their experience and knowledge.
Miriam Downey has recently returned with the Irish Ladies U-21 hockey team after a successful European Championships in Austria and reveals that the experience was not only enjoyable, but was also of a great professional benefit.
“I would encourage anyone who is invited to be part of a team to take the opportunity. Even if they are not familiar with that particular sport, it is a great way to get an insight into that game.
“There is no doubt that it will be a benefit to me in terms of my clinical skills and something I am delighted to have become involved in”, explained Miriam.
The squad travelled out to Vienna on July 11 with the competition taking place from July 15 to 21 and overall it proved to be very successful for the Irish team. Although they were narrowly edged out in the final, they achieved their objective of winning promotion to the top division for next year.
The girls performed really well in the group stages as they defeated Lithuania before drawing with Scotland, before winning their semi-final to set up a meeting with Italy in the decider. The Irish team looked set for victory but the heat took its toll as their opponents fought back.
“We were three up at half time but the conditions were very difficult as the game was played in 35 degrees and that was a factor in conceding late goals to see the game end in a draw, allowing the Italians to win on overall score difference.
“It was disappointing at the end but overall the girls can be proud of what the achieved as getting promotion was the main objective”, explained Miriam, who was asked to get involved by coach, David Passmore, who also works in DCU.
“It was a big commitment as we started training in April and there was a lot of travelling to places like Banbridge and UCD for sessions. However, it was very enjoyable as there was a great team spirit in this All-Ireland team”, explained Miriam whose expertise played a big role in the overall success.
“Thankfully there were no serious injuries but a lot of sore muscles. The biggest challenge was adjusting to playing in the heat especially when there were some many games in a short space of time.
“I had never worked with a hockey team before so it was interesting from that point of view to see the injuries that arose due to the posture of the players during the game. Because they are bent over there are more injuries with back and hip flexor. There is also more risk of a head injury and a blow from the ball can be very severe, and as a result there is more screening required than in sports like GAA and soccer”, continued Miriam who was delighted to pick up a silver medal along with all the other squad members.