Irish hockey to pay tribute to Gormley with special celebration match

©: Frank Uijlenbroek / World Sport Pics

Irish hockey will pay tribute to Ronan Gormley on Saturday afternoon with a special challenge match between a Pembroke Wanderers all-star team against an Ireland selection.

It follows his retirement last September after 13 years in the Irish setup having played 256 times for Ireland, captaining the side 121 times.

Gormley was part of the first Irish team to medal at the European Championships in 2015 as well as playing at the Rio Olympics in 2016 among many highlights.

Former coach Dave Passmore describing him as a “cultural architect” for the team as Ireland rose from outside the world’s top 20 to reachin ninth in the world in 2016.

“I remember people laughing at me when I said we had the potential to be a top 12 team,” Passmore said of the influence Gormley and his generation had.

“I am sure many of the older players still felt that so it was the younger guys like Ronan, David Harte and co that we needed to take on board the standards, attention to detail and through hard work, build the confidence that we could break the mould.

“Ronan has been integral in the development and progress of the Irish team from the 25th ranking when he was first brought into the squad, to then winning the bronze and qualifying for Rio.”

Gormley played a couple of seasons in the Euro Hockey League, lining out in the inaugural season with his club Pembroke before winning a silver medal with Club de Campo.