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'A huge servant to Irish Hockey': Watkins hails departing manager Boyles

Boyles had worked as both assistant coach and team manager over the past eight years.

File photo: Arlene Boyles.
File photo: Arlene Boyles.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

IRELAND HOCKEY STAR Chloe Watkins admits the international camp will be ‘strange’ without Arlene Boyles around as she hailed the influence of the departing manager.

Boyles stood down from the team manager role of Ireland today after three years in the role and eight years in the coaching setup. The former international said that the pandemic brought a natural break in play and she decided to step away while ‘sticks were down’ to spend more time with friends and family.

“Hockey Ireland has been part of my life since I was 13 years old and 30 plus years later I’m still standing on the edge of hockey pitches. I’m not one for regrets and I’ve put myself in the position where hopefully that doesn’t happen,” said Boyles.

“It’s feels natural for me to do but it’s a massive decision because this has been a big part of my life. It may seem strange to some who will wonder why I can’t hold on for a year but this is a professional sport with a lot of time spent away from home and it’s friends and family time now and a good time to go.”

chloe-watkins Chloe Watkins pictured as FBD ambassador. FBD are supporting Team Ireland’s Olympic hopefuls to enable them to focus on personal bests and breakthrough performances at the 2021 Games in Tokyo. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Speaking as a brand ambassador for FBD Insurance today, Watkins hailed Boyles’ ability to ease tension in a pressure environment along with her work as a mentor over a long period of time working closely with the squad as either coach or manager.

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“She’s given so much to the squad,” Watkins said by Zoom call, “it’s going to be funny coming back in September without her there. She’s been a huge mentor to a lot of the girls and brought a lot of her own playing and coaching experience.

“She’s incredibly funny and she’s always able to lighten the mood, which is hugely important when things get intense or stressful.

We’ll definitely miss her around the squad, but she’s been such a huge servant to Irish hockey. She deserves her time now with family and friends. She’s given so much to Irish Hockey and we definitely wouldn’t be seeing Tokyo without her input.

We can only be thankful for the time with her and what she’s given to the squad, but it will definitely be strange without her there.”

About the author:

Sean Farrell

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