Róisín Upton hopeful extra year under Dancer can get Ireland in tune for Tokyo

Róisín Upton knows a thing or two about homework. A teacher who has put her career in the classroom on hold for another year after the Olympics got pushed back 12 months, she feels that the delay could work in the favour of an Irish hockey team under new management.
Róisín Upton hopeful extra year under Dancer can get Ireland in tune for Tokyo

Róisín Upton at the announcement of the continuation of Circle K’s ‘Here for Ireland’ initiative. Customers can scan the Circle K app or Play or Park loyalty tag in-store to generate digital coins, which Ireland’s Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls can use to fuel their
journey to Tokyo. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Róisín Upton knows a thing or two about homework. A teacher who has put her career in the classroom on hold for another year after the Olympics got pushed back 12 months, she feels that the delay could work in the favour of an Irish hockey team under new management.

Graham Shaw took Ireland to a World Cup final in 2018 but shocked the sport here when he stood down in March of last year. 

He was replaced by New Zealander Sean Dancer whose very different approach to the game may complicate things for opponents swatting up on them.

"Sean comes from Oceania where the focus tends to be on a more attacking game and playing with more flair, as opposed to our traditional defensive strength, which was basis of our game-plan,’ said Upton, a Circle K ambassador. 

“So, Sean will have more time to implement his ideas on the game.

“It is important that we are able to adapt. 

"For the World Cup, we were able to come under the radar, but now everyone will know about us because so much of the game at the top level is about analysing opposition. 

"Before our Olympic play-off, we spent eight weeks analysing the Canadian team, knew everything about them. It will be the same at the Olympics.”

Ireland, who overcame Canada in a play-off late last year to seal their place at the Olympics, were drawn in an Olympic pool with the Netherlands who beat them 6-0 in that World Cup decider, Germany, India, Great Britain and South Africa.”

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