Hockey Ireland has today accepted the resignation of senior women’s head coach Graham Shaw as he takes up the position of head coach of New Zealand’s senior international women.Shaw has long since been a member of the Hockey Ireland family both as a senior international player and as part of the coaching set up since 2010. He was assistant coach to Darren Smith before taking the head coach role in the summer of 2015 prior to the Eurohockey Championships II in Prague.
After nearly 4 years at the helm of the Green Army Graham is moving to New Zealand to take up the role with the world number 6, the Blacksticks offer an exciting challenge as they compete in the Pro League and have their sights firmly set on Tokyo 2020.
Speaking about the move, Shaw said “It was an honour to coach my country and I am very grateful for the opportunity. We have had some incredible times together that I will never forget. I have worked with an outstanding staff over many years; your professionalism, honesty and friendship will stay with me forever.
I would like to thank Hockey Ireland, Sport Ireland, SINI and Sport Northern Ireland for your unwavering support over the past years and long may it continue. I’d also like to recognise the staff of Hockey Ireland for all their work behind the scenes and their friendships over the past several years.
To the players I would like to say a massive thank you. Your drive, dedication and loyalty has been relentless and it has been an absolute pleasure to lead the program over the past 4 years. I would like to wish the squad all the best for the future. I hope you continue on this journey, inspiring the next generation of hockey players in Ireland and I hope to see you in Tokyo”.
The Green Army have gone from 16th to 8th in the world during Shaw’s tenure and qualified for their first World Cup since 2002. The recent 2018 World Cup is perhaps what Shaw will be most recognised for as he led the squad to an historic silver medal and a first ever World Cup final for any Irish team sport.
Jerome Pels, Hockey Ireland CEO, was quick to praise the legacy that Shaw leaves behind “We would like to thank Graham for all he has done for the senior women’s programme over the last several years. Graham has given a huge amount to Irish hockey over the last 2 decades both as a high-performance athlete and a coach. We wish Graham all the very best with this new opportunity with Hockey New Zealand”.
Performance Director Adam Grainger echoed Pels’ sentiment “Graham has undoubtedly left the Green Army programme in a better place and has put the building blocks in place for the squad to continue with this cycle successfully, with the primary goal being Olympic qualification. Graham’s commitment to the programme, both on and off the pitch, is a testament to his character and we wish him every success in the future”.
Green Army captain, Katie Mullan, also hailed Shaw’s influence “On behalf of the Green Army I would like to thank Graham for all that he has given to our team. He led us to a moment none of us will ever forget at the World Cup and the Blacksticks are very lucky to have him, we wish him all the best with this new adventure”.
Images: World Sport Pics Hockey Ireland