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'We are very grateful': Ireland receive €50,000 fundraising boost ahead of first Olympics

It has been a good week for Hockey Ireland.

Ireland are preparing for their first Olympic appearance.
Ireland are preparing for their first Olympic appearance.
Image: Sportsfile

THE IRISH HOCKEY team’s Rio fundraising drive has received a significant boost after the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) this afternoon announced a €50,000 contribution.

Head coach Craig Fulton says he and the players are ‘very grateful’ for the financial assistance as preparations for the team’s first ever Olympic appearance intensify.

Hockey Ireland last month launched a campaign to raise €225,000 after falling significantly short of the original sponsorship target.

The failure to entice a major corporate sponsor on board contributed to the shortfall in funding for the team’s programme.

As it stands, €38,000 has been raised through the online ‘Obsessed’ campaign so the injection of funds from the OCI is timely.

“The OCI are delighted that Irish Hockey will be competing at an Olympics Games for the first time since 1908 and will be the first team of any sport to represent Ireland at an Olympic Games since 1948,” OCI President, Pat Hickey, said.

Craig Fulton and David Harte Craig Fulton and captain David Harte. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

“I’m delighted for the team, and Hockey Ireland. It will create a new team dynamic within Team Ireland and we very much look forward to helping them maximise their potential in Rio.”

Fulton added: “On behalf of all of the squad, we are very grateful for this generous contribution from the OCI.

“This is an invaluable injection supporting our preparation to compete against the best teams in the world at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

“It is a privilege to be part of Team Ireland and we are relishing the prospect of representing Ireland on the biggest stage in the world.”

Ireland’s preparations for the Games continues next week with a four-game series against Korea in Dublin. Fitness club Ballsbridge énergie yesterday announced a deal to become the series’ title sponsor.

The Green Machine’s Olympic campaign begins against India on 6 August before fixtures with Netherlands, Germany, Canada and Argentina.

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Ryan Bailey

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