Irish Hockey is delighted to announce Darren Smith as new Ireland Women’s National Coach. Smith, a New Zealand native, takes up the role following 6 years as Assistant Coach to the New Zealand Men’s team who recently finished 9th at the Olympic Games in London 2012.

Darren brings with him a wealth of International coaching experience gained with the ‘Blacksticks’ including participation at Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, World Cup & Champions Challenge. As well as his extensive coaching experience, Darren also brings vast playing experience to the role having represented New Zealand on 212 occasions as a player including earning a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002.

Irish Hockey Association CEO, Mike Heskin, believes Smith is the right appointment ‘ I am delighted to have appointed Darren to the role of ‘Electric Ireland’ Women’s National Coach. Darren joins at an exciting time for Irish Women’s Hockey and I look forward to seeing the team develop further under his leadership. Darren’s background and experience in coaching and playing at the highest level with New Zealand will be a tremendous asset to Irish Hockey. I look forward to working with him & welcoming him to Ireland’

Commenting on his own appointment, Smith said ‘I’m very honoured to be given the opportunity to work with the Green Army toward the Rio 2016 Olympics. This is a group of players who have been committed to making an impact on the international stage for some time and were within one match of being at the London Olympics. It will be exciting to meet the squad and start building toward success. I’ll be focused not only on the national team results, but also on working closely within the hockey environment to help enhance the high performance program. Through this I hope to ensure our talented players succeed on the international stage.

Dennis Millar, Chairman of the Irish Hockey Board, also remarked ‘This is a great news for Irish Hockey. Darren brings great qualities to the role both as a coach and former player. These qualities will help give our Women’s teams the best chance to succeed. We are extremely fortunate to now have two top coaches in place for both our Men’s & Women’s Teams’

Captain of the Green Army, Alex Speers, is also excited about working with the new Coach ‘I am absolutely delighted on the appointment of Darren and really looking forward to working under his world class leadership. He is coming into the ladies squad in a very exciting time and I have no doubt his wealth of coaching and playing experience will guide the squad to consistently perform on the world stage.’

Smith’s first competitive games will be in early 2013 and he is already looking ahead to fixtures  ‘The first challenge on the table is World League 2 to be held in Spain in late February. We will need to be at our best to finish in the top two of that tournament to push towards World Cup qualification. All of us want to see the Green Army competing in the World Cup and Olympic Games.’

Smith will officially take up the role with the Green Army in January 2013 following his upcoming marriage and will be based here in Ireland. Excited about the prospect of living & working on the Emerald Isle, Smith commented ‘My fiancé Beth and I will be moving to Dublin in January to immerse ourselves in Irish life. We are both looking forward to the adventure.’

ENDS