Kent School field hockey will head to Ireland this summer to play against opposition from Dublin, take part in a coaching and players clinic conducted by Irish coaches, and discover the educational and historical delights of the Emerald Isle.
Field hockey head coach and Kent School athletic director Cortney Duncan will lead the team to Ireland for the games, which are a partner event of the Dublin High School Football Showcase event, which will feature the Kent School football team.
The Lions will arrive in Ireland on Wednesday, August 26, where they will kick off the visit with an educational tour of Dublin. During the next three days, University College Dublin will host training sessions and a clinic, which will include some of the UCD players who won the Women’s Hockey World Cup silver medal with the Irish national team in 2018.
Kent School will face local Irish field hockey opposition at the National Hockey Stadium on the UCD campus on the morning of Saturday, August 29 (kickoff time TBD). They will take part in a parade through Dublin city center to celebrate the weekend’s Aer Lingus College Football Classic, alongside traveling football players, coaches and cheerleaders.
“I am so excited to bring the team to Ireland this summer, especially with the buzz and excitement surrounding the Olympics and Ireland’s women’s field hockey team,” said coach Duncan. “It will be their maiden qualification for the Olympics and they played in front of the biggest crowd ever for a women’s international team event in Ireland. The Kent team is looking forward to playing some local Irish clubs and to working with some of the Irish coaches and players.”
Kent’s field hockey program consists of the highly-competitive varsity team and a developmental junior varsity team geared towards those new to or less experienced in the sport. The most athletic and skilled players compete at the varsity level, but players of all abilities can find a spot within the program. The Lions compete in the Founders League and are a Class A school (the highest level) in the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC). Kent School were back to back Founders League Champions in 2016 and 2017, went to the NEPSAC Class A tournament in both those years and posted a sixth straight season with a winning record in 2019.
“It is very special to have the Kent field hockey team join the celebration in Ireland this August, allowing these ladies to showcase their talents and learn from the highly successful Irish players and coaches,” said Global Football founder and president Patrick Steenberge. “Being an integral part of the high school and major college football event will allow them to experience Ireland at its finest. In future years we plan to continue to expand these type of opportunities. This will be the third time Kent School student athletes have traveled overseas with Global Football; the first time with field hockey.”
Several Kent players participate in the U.S. Futures program, College Connection, and many have competed at the U.S. Field Hockey Festival. Colleges and universities at which recent graduates have continued their playing careers include Bates, Bucknell, Cornell, Manhattanville, Smith, Union, and Yale.
The UCD Hockey stadium is a world-class facility, is recognized as one of the finest playing surfaces anywhere and is situated on the expansive campus located on Dublin’s prestigious south side. Nine past or present UCD Ladies Hockey team players were members of the Ireland team that won the silver medal at the 2018 World Cup, the team has won the Irish National Championship the past two years, and with its newly installed water-based Astroturf pitch (field) is positioned to host Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualifiers. UCD Hockey is eager to host the GIFT Field Hockey Showcase, allowing up to 4 U.S. high school teams to compete against one another, as well as Irish teams, as part of the overall Aer Lingus College Football Showcase.