The renowned Irish International Captain Eimear Cregan has announced her decision to retire from International Hockey as a result of injury after amassing an outstanding 171 caps in the green shirt over the past ten years. Cregan’s outstanding drive, determination and sheer hard work saw her become Ireland’s most capped player of all time.
Cregan has suffered from a degenerative, arthritic condition in both knees for the past six years and her decision to retire has been extremely difficult. “For the past 6 years, I have managed to play through the pain barrier to overcome this degenerative condition but unfortunately I am no longer able to train at the appropriate level required for international competition. It is with deep sadness that, in consultation with medical staff, I have had to consider the long term implications of continuing to train and compete at this level and have been forced into retirement”
Dave Passmore, High Performance Director spoke of Cregans’s injuries and her outstanding testament to Irish Hockey “It is sad for both Eimear and for the women's team that she has been forced into this decision. Few will really know how hard she has battled through the pain of her injuries over the past number of years which is a testament to her attitude, diligence and commitment to her role as captain and the program overall. Her many qualities will not only be a loss to the team but Irish Hockey in general.”
Cregan’s impressive International career began in 2001 winning her first International cap against Wales at the young age of 19. Cregan was chosen to represent Ireland by then Coach Riet Kuper and thanks her for the opportunity and providing her with the “hunger for International hockey.” Cregan went from strength to strength and earned her 100th cap against Italy in 2007 and was later awarded the prestigious title of captain in 2008. Her 150th cap was in Kazan against Belgium at Champions Challenge II in 2009.
Coach Gene Muller comments on Cregan’s retirement saying “I am very sad that Eimear is retiring from international hockey. It was a privilege for me to work with Eimear over the last few years. She is a true legend of Irish sport. I loved watching her play hockey. She was exciting, powerful, and unpredictable. She always lead through example, and took her role of captain very seriously. My hope is that her legacy of motivation and passion will continue to live on in the team. I wish her only the best for the future.”
Herbie Sharman, President of the Irish Hockey Association, also comments on Cregan’s departure “Eimear led the squad with outstanding determination and commitment and will no doubt be missed by all in Irish Hockey. We offer her our unqualified appreciation for all her sterling devotion to Irish hockey and, with 171 caps to her name; it has been an honour to have had her at the helm for so long. We trust she will continue to be involved in her club and in the sport for many years to come.”
Cregan expressed her sincere thanks to all who have supported her over the years “I would like to thank my family for their endless encouragement and support in allowing me to follow my dream. I would also like to thank my employer, Sr. Berchmans in Ursuline Convent Thurles, Co. Tipperary who has been hugely supportive of the Central Preparation Programme. I must acknowledge my previous employer Aedín Ní Bhriain (Laurel Hill Coláiste F.C.J.) for their support over the last two years. To both employers, I am very grateful.”
Cregan continues to personally thank “The Irish Sports Council, the Irish Institute of Sport, Sports in Northern Ireland, Olympic Council of Ireland, ESB and our team kit sponsors Samurai.
Eimear extends her gratitude towards ESB and says “We have been very lucky over the past 6 years to have attracted such a committed sponsor in ESB. A member of the ESB has always been present at the major tournaments supporting us along the way. I would like to personally thank ESB for promoting the women’s game from grassroots to senior level.”
Cregan also takes the time to thank Coach Gene Muller for his “unending dedication and determination to Irish Women’s hockey. Gene has invested huge time and effort into the creation of the Central Preparation Programme with a view to bringing this squad to the next level.”
Cregan extends her appreciation to “all the management of the Women’s squad for their huge effort and commitment to hockey. A special mention must go to Karen Coughlan (physio) who has had to provide me with constant physio over the last 5 years.”
Cregan also pays tribute to her friends “to the members of the Irish Senior Women’s hockey squad I wish you all the very best in your quest to qualify for the Olympics in 2012. I have no doubt that if all of you continue to work as hard as you are doing right now you will achieve that goal and I will be supporting each of you every step of the way.”
All in Irish Hockey would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank Eimear for her outstanding contribution and commitment to Irish Hockey over the past number of years. We wish Eimear the very best for her future.
Source: Irish Hockey Association
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