Rockets blast off in Three Rock

THREE Rock Rovers recently launched the country’s only Parahockey team – the Three Rock Rockets.

Catering for members with intellectual disabil-ities, the project was started up last October by Co-ordinator Siobhan Madeley and Three Rock first team coach Niall Denham.

TRR led out by the Three Rock Rockets Parahockey team DSC 4204

The reaction to it has proven hugely positive both from members who have come on board along with their families and coaches who have helped breathe life into the initiative.

And, with the newly formed squad having been invited to take part in this summer’s Euro Parahockey Championships, interest is sure to grow even more.

Speaking about the birth of the project Madeley told The Echo “We’d seen a lot of Parahockey all over Europe and we felt that we just wanted to make hockey more inclusive.

“Three Rock is our club so we decided to start there and we just put it out on social media and started off with four on the first night. Now we have 16 players between the ages of 14 and 18.

“You do need a lot more help. Some of these members do need one-on-one coaching, so you do need more volunteers than you would have with a mainstream group.

“Many of the coaches we have are players with the men’s first team and we also have some women involved, all of them having really bought into the project.

“Hockey does have a lot to offer. It’s a family sport, a team sport. Kids learn to be part of a team and they have membership of a club.

“The social element is something that is not only important to children with intellectual disabilities, but for so many members across all clubs.

“But I feel that, for this to be a success, other clubs have to be coming on board. Monkstown will be starting up a team soon and Railway and Limerick have been on to us about getting it started up. Also clubs in Ulster are now talking about it.

“When we decided to start this up, we did put it to Hockey Ireland and they were happy for us to take the lead on it. We have the infrastructure and the coaches. It’s about opening our doors to more people and now we have 16 new families coming through our doors who would never have walked through our gates before.

“And also you have siblings of these new players who are also looking to get involved.

“For me it’s a case of why have we not being doing this rather than why are we doing it,” she said.

The newly-formed squad will soon be turning their attention to their trip to Amsterdam for the Euro Parahockey Champion-ships, taking place from August 20-24.

There, they will line out in the ‘Beginners’ division in which they will face off against opposition from Germany, Portugal, England, Spain and hosts Netherlands.

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