Shaw named manager of the month after guiding Ireland to World Cup silver

The women’s hockey head coach was the obvious choice for last month’s award.

GRAHAM SHAW’S ROLE in masterminding Ireland’s memorable run to the Women’s Hockey World Cup final, and a first-ever silver medal, has been recognised with the Philips Lighting sports manager of the month award for July.

Ireland v India - Vitality Women's Hockey World Cup - Quarter Final - Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre Steven Paston Shaw guided Ireland to a historic World Cup silver medal in London. Steven Paston

The Ireland head coach, himself a former hockey international who won 151 caps, has been widely-praised for his tactical nous, innovation and player management skills, as the Green Army defied all odds during a magical campaign in London.

On the back of their silver medal-winning exploits, Shaw’s side have jumped from 16th to eighth in the latest world rankings, which puts them in a strong position to qualify for Tokyo 2020 when the qualification process begins next year.

Shaw took over the head coach position in 2015 following the team’s agonising failure to qualify for the Rio Games, and in bringing a clear-headed approach, instilled a renewed sense of belief within the group to qualify for a first World Cup in 16 years.

When there, Ireland adopted a no-pressure, no excuses mantra and wins over USA and India in the group stages secured a direct passage through to the knockout stages, where they beat India and Spain in the quarter and semi-finals.

Their groundbreaking odyssey ended with a heavy 6-0 defeat to world number one Netherlands in last Sunday’s final, but the result didn’t take anything away from the achievement of a silver medal, with the team welcomed home to Dublin by thousands of fans at a civic reception.

When asked if guiding Ireland to a World Cup final was the best moment of his career, Shaw said: “Without a doubt. Without a doubt. This is 100% the greatest moment of my life apart from my kids and my wife. This is 100% the greatest day of my life.”

PHILIPS SP MNG MTH HOCKEY MX-96 Shaw was presented with his award by Mark Kelly from Philips Lighting today.

In collecting the monthly award, Shaw follows the likes of horse trainers Joseph O’Brien, and Willie Mullins, Leinster head coach Leo Cullen and Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt in winning the accolade in 2018.

Shaw will now be in contention for the overall sports manager of the year award at December’s annual ceremony, with Micheál Donoghue, Stephen Kenny, Martin O’Neill, Jim Gavin and Schmidt among the recent winners.

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