Junior Ministers Alastair Ross and Megan Fearon today wished good luck to the athletes from Lisnagarvey, Banbridge and Racing hockey clubs who are part of the 16 strong Team Ireland men’s hockey squad at this year’s Olympics.
The Junior Ministers met team members Jonny Bell, Paul Gleghorne and Michael Watt (Lisnagarvey), Eugene Magee (Banbridge) and Chris Cargo (Racing) at Stormont Castle.
Junior Minister Ross said: “It is great to see so many players from Northern Ireland selected to both the Team GB and Team Ireland hockey squads. It is an incredible achievement and bears testament to the hard work, training and determination of the players.
"It is also a proud day for the clubs and schools who have coached and cared for these players from a young age. The hours of volunteering and coaching by teachers and club members has reaped its reward.
"These athletes have given their all during years of preparation to reach this level of sporting excellence. I have no doubt that they will do us proud in Rio and I’m sure everyone in Northern Ireland will join me in wishing them every success.”
Junior Minister Fearon said: “This is an historic time for men’s hockey across the island of Ireland because for the first time in over 100 years an Irish hockey team has qualified for an Olympic Games.
"Competing in Rio representing Ireland will be a dream come true to many of the players and memories will be created which the players and their families will never forget.
"The Olympics and sport captures the imagination and I am sure this team through their qualification and quest for Olympic glory will inspire future generations at home to pick up a hockey stick.
"I wish the hockey team and everyone connected with Team Ireland every success in Rio."
The first Team Ireland men’s hockey game will be against India on Saturday 6 August.
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