David Harte is a goalkeeper extraordinaire. His performances at the FINTRO Hockey World League Semi-Final and the EuroHockey Championships are the stuff of legend and were pivotal to Ireland's historic year.
The Irish captain led his team to Olympic qualification for the first time in over 100 years as they qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. A few weeks later, at the EuroHockey Championships in London, Harte then helped his team win their first major international medal as they took bronze after defeating hosts England.
“To be honest it hasn't sunk in yet,” said Harte on hearing the news of this award. “I am so honoured and proud – all the more so when you consider that so many people had to take the time to vote, to whom I'm very grateful. While it is recognised as an individual award, I certainly know I would never have envisioned reaching such a level without my coaches in school and at underage level, my club Kampong in my second home Utrecht, and of course my Irish team mates, especially my twin brother Conor, and incredible coaching staff. Not to forget of course my family and friends who have been with me from the start, through the highs and the lows.”
It was probably a string of fine saves in the FINTRO Hockey World League Semi-Final match against Malaysia that was the seminal point of Harte’s international season last year. The keeper’s agility between the posts meant that Ireland beat Malaysia into fifth place and, with that result, kept their Olympic dreams very much alive.
“The year ahead will hopefully only be the beginning of Hockey Ireland competing at major tournaments like Olympic Games and World Cups,” added Harte. “It is a year the players, staff and whole Irish hockey community are looking forward to!”
For more information about the Hockey Stars 2015, click here.