Hockey has always been the main traditional sport for girls since Armagh Girls’ High School amalgamated in 1986 with the Royal School. The club has had great success with junior and senior teams and individuals at Ulster and Irish level.
In 2002 the 1st XI won the Belfast Telegraph Ulster Schools’ Cup for the first time ever, showing their strength in Ireland by going on to win the Kate Russell All-Ireland Trophy. The Ulster Schools’ Cup is the highlight of every school girls hockey career, when over 40 of the country’s top schools competing.
The 1st XI dominated Ulster and Irish schools’ hockey for the next 9 years, wining the Ulster Cup in 2004, 2006 (Ulster Cup Centenary), 2007, 2008 and in 2010 and the All-Ireland Tournament in 2004, 2006 and 2007.
This allowed the girls entry into the European Youth Tournament in Holland, in which the girls finished runners-up in 2003, 2005 and 2008. In 2003 and 2005 Emma Stewart made her mark at international level winning the ‘Player of the Tournament Award’.
The 1st XI has reached 4 more Ulster finals since then, winning the Ulster Shield in 2014 and 2015. The U14XI regularly reach the Ulster Junior Cup ¼ finals, going on to reach the final 3 times in the past 10 years, wining it in 2005 and 2011.
2004 was a special year for the school when the 1st XI hockey girls and the 1st XV rugby boys both won their Ulster Schools’ Cup, not achieved since Methodist College Belfast in 1936! The teams were presented with special merit awards at the Belfast Telegraph Awards and the Armagh Sports Awards that year.
Players regularly represent the u15 and u17 Southern Area Board squad and Ulster and Ireland u16 and u18 squad. In 2004 Emma Stewart at only 16 became the first player from the school and the youngest in Ireland to represent the Irish Senior Ladies Team. She competed in the European Cup as a 17 year old in 2005, in Dublin, against World Champions the Netherlands, going on to confidently win a penalty corner with her first touch of the ball! Emma was later joined on the squad by her sister Amy Stewart (who beat her ‘youngest player’ record), Hannah Bowe and Alex Speers. Alex went on to Captain the Irish Team for 3 years, wining over 150 caps in the process, becoming our most capped senior player!
Girls’ Hockey club currently runs 10 teams from U12 A & B teams up to the 1st XI. The girls train once or twice a week including Games afternoon and most play competitively on Saturdays all over Ulster, as well as regularly in the local Mid Ulster Leagues and the Ulster Cups. The senior squad have regular hockey tours, in 2014 the girls went on tour to Holland where they got to experience top class training facilities and compete against international opposition.
All girls in Year 8 are invited to our Hockey Club on Tuesdays after school and begin matches after Halloween. The girls get expertise coaching in school from UHU qualified coaches and from the local Development Officer.
At present we have numerous year 8 and 9 girls selected for the Southern Sports squad, year 10 and 11 girls playing in the Ulster Talent Development Squad and have 3 girls in the Ulster U18 Squad, winners of the Interprovincial Tournament in 2015, and 2 on the Irish U18 Training panel for the 2016 European Championships.
Most of our players go on to play hockey for their University or local Club playing in the Ulster and All Ireland League, some have even gained hockey scholarships and are playing in America, all players report back to us how much they love playing hockey and the great social side of the game, making friends for life!