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Press Release - 11/08/2002

East Antrim Hockey Club
11 August 2002

For further information, contact:
Stephen Swann
Press Release Officer - East Antrim Hockey Club
34 Carnmoney Road, Newtownabbey, BT36 6HP
078 0316 7731


East Antrim Hockey Club are celebrating their Centenary this year and to mark the occasion, East Antrim are scheduled to play a match against the Ulster Branch President's XI on the 31st August 2002. The Northern Bank sponsored event will take place at the Valley Leisure Centre and both teams will be presented to the Mayor of Newtownabbey - Alderman Girvan.

East Antrim, however, are hoping to give the President's XI a stern test as they will have benefitted from having had coaching sessions taken by Paul Cooke. In fact, Paul, who was capped 91 times by Ireland, will take charge of team affairs for the day. The experience and professionalism that Paul will bring to proceedings should stand the Club in good stead for the rest of the season.

The news that Paul was prepared to help East Antrim in its Centenary year has encouraged other "Living Legends" to do likewise. Jimmy Kirkwood, Billy McConnell, Martin Sloan and Raymond Geddis have all pledged a coaching session during the early months of the forthcoming season. In all, the 5 coaches have over 500 Irish caps between them!

Alan Burgess, 1st XI Captain, commented : "I haven't looked forward to a season as much as this before. We already know that we can compete, but we lack the professional approach and mental strength to succeed. Hopefully these 'legends' will be the final piece in the jigsaw. Plus, we must be the envy of many a club!"

Stephen Swann, Treasurer, commented : "I'm really pleased we have acquired the services of such great names, but I'm also delighted that the Northern Bank has decided to partner with us for our Centenary events. It has created many opportunities for us, including additional pitch time for these coaches."

The match against the Ulster Branch President's XI will also see the unveiling of a new strip for the Club. After a few years of playing in quartered shirts, the Club is returning to its traditional bottle green shirt.

The final Centennial event of the year will be a Dinner Dance at the Dunadry Hotel on the 19th October 2002. Anyone interested in attending this black tie affair should contact the Club immediately by phoning Stephen Swann on 078 0316 7731.