Echo Women in Sport award: Hockey ace Hollie Moffett leads by example

Veteran Church of Ireland star is the Echo Women in Sport winner for April
Echo Women in Sport award: Hockey ace Hollie Moffett leads by example

Hollie Moffett of Cork Church of Ireland is presented with the Echo Women in Sport award for April by Rory Noonan of The Echo, at Garryduff Sports Complex. Picture: David Keane.

FOR more years than she probably cares to remember Hollie Moffett has been a key player for Church of Ireland Hockey Club.

During that time unfortunately not too many honours have come her way, but this season she captained them to victory in the inaugural Division One Cup. She does have an Irish Hockey Trophy medal to her name but this is the first Munster senior trophy that Hollie or CoI have won since 2008.

They came close to making it a near-perfect season, but lost out to UCC in the league final play-off, with both sides having ended level on points.

Hollie said that league play-off loss was one of the incentives for them going into the cup final, where they got the better of Ashton at Garryduff.

In that cup final her influence from midfield was one of the key factors in their victory, particularly in the third quarter when Ashton enjoyed their best spell of the game. 

She has yet to make up her mind whether she will step away from first-team hockey next season, but have no doubt that coach Phil Oakley will be hoping he can convince her to give it another season as they bid to try and go one step further and win the league title.

Like many players, Hollie started her hockey career at the Friday night hockey sessions under Rose Rose and Hazel Sweetnam, when she would have been a young teenager and from there progressed to their Division Three side.

After a season with them and having gained a bit of experience she joined the Division One side around 2002 and has played with them since, except for a few years when she was at UCC and then in London for another few years to do a Masters.

Her brother, Alex, also plays with the club, with both progressing from Ashton Secondary School to join the Garryduff side.

Both have been key players for the club and Hollie said it was only natural they would join CoI as they live so close to the club in Douglas.

“I always considered CoI as my club and wouldn’t have joined anywhere else,” said Hollie, “I did play with UCC for four years when I was at college as that gave me the opportunity to play inter-varsities and other competitions. I also to got the chance to play with Ireland a number of times whilst I was at college and they are memories I look back on fondly.

“But I always hated playing against CoI as even during those four years I always considered it my club so I was never comfortable playing against them,” said Hollie.

“I went to London after playing with UCC to do my Masters and that meant I couldn’t commit to playing for Ireland anymore so her Irish senior career came to an end then but when I came back it was great to return to Church of Ireland.”

Her happiest memories of playing hockey are with CoI and even though they won the Irish Hockey Trophy and the Division One cup this year her fondest memories is not either one of them.

They played Pegasus in the Irish Senior Cup one year and were beaten by eight or nine goals and were pitted against them in the quarter-final again the following season.

We were written off by everybody and all expected them to win and go through to the semi-final. 

"But we beat them and they were in a state of shock after the game and we were delighted to have gained a bit of revenge for the loss the previous year.

“We had a great team that time with the likes of Deirdre Casey, Aine Connery, Jenifer Hales, Mel Ryan, and Sandra Hackett all playing and it was great when we won 1-0. All of them, bar Mel, are not playing anymore so we are now the longest-serving members of the side.

DETERMINED

“Unfortunately Mel couldn’t play in the cup final so it was nice to win it for her and we missed her in that game. Our goal at the start of the season was to try and win the league and the cup. I don’t think CoI have ever won the top league and we knew we were in with a chance. But we lost out to UCC and I think we were a little unlucky in the play-off.

“We were determined to make up for that in the cup final and it was great to come out on top. I would like to thank all the players, Phil (Oakley) our coach and Sarah (Jones) our manager for all their hard work over the season and I accept this award on behalf of all of them.”

Away from hockey, it has been a tough few years for Hollie, just like many others due to the pandemic. She works as a radiation therapist at Cork University Hospital, delivering treatment to cancer patients.

“It can be a tough job at times and you have to learn to deal with the sad cases as well as the happiness of the good outcomes. Like many jobs, it was tough over the last few years, especially at the start when no one knew much about the virus. For the first few months, we didn’t really know what we were walking into any day and even if people would get to finish their cancer treatments.

“We had to form bubbles of four to six people and stick with them but once the vaccinations started to be rolled out you started to feel like there was an end in sight. But I was grateful to be going to work and chatting to people and unlike lots, I wasn’t stuck at home all the time,” concluded Hollie.

It’s been a busy few years for the CoI dynamic midfielder, both on and off the pitch, and no doubt there is lots more to come from her.


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