Gormley hails Pro Series Indoor experience as one of the most special hockey atmospheres in the game
Ronan Gormley has played in more arenas than virtually any other player in Irish hockey history but reckons few compare to the Pro Series Indoor which got underway in South Dublin this week with other franchises hitting the boards in the coming weeks.
The former national captain – currently Ireland’s second highest capped players – is one of just two Irish people along with Ross Canning to have experienced the event up close and personal.
They formed part of the World Stars team that played in an invitational showcase just before Christmas in Cape Town with the indoor hockey event now looking to make its mark with its introduction in Ireland.
“I jumped at the chance,” Gormley told The Hook of how he got involved as, first, former Pembroke team mate John McInroy – who MC’d the event – and PSi owner Simon Martin got in touch to see if he wanted to be part of the event.
“I was aware of it though seeing the videos and excitement on Facebook, and hearing from other players who had played about how cool it was.
“When you hear that from the likes of the best players in the world i.e. Moritz Fuerste, Benni and Timo Wess, Andreu Enrich, Robert Tigges etc you know there is something pretty special going on!
“Apart from the personal experience of playing in front of a big crowd of noisy and enthusiastic kids and playing with/against the world’s top indoor players, seeing the amount of youth hockey lovers getting to be involved in an experience like PSi is just fantastic.
“Hockey doesn’t have many events like it, so those who get to take part are very lucky, including me!”
The PSi initially starts off this month with a series of leagues in franchises around Ireland, catering for boys and girls from fifth class in primary school up to Under-15 level.
The South Dublin Vikings got underway in St Columba’s and Loreto Dalkey while the North Dublin Knights are in DCU.
The Wicklow Wasps start in Loreto Bray and the Kildare Swans in King’s Hospital on April 7. A day later, the Kilkenny Cats league in the Watershed, the Limerick Lions in UL and the Belfast Bears in Strathearn and the Antrim Forum start up.
These leagues will play out for several weeks up to mid to late May. Following these leagues, participants will then have the potential opportunity to play in the end of season PSi Festival which will take place on June 22 to 24 at Gormanston College’s campus in north Dublin.
ainst the various leagues around the country in the PSi festival. On each night, there will be a PSi Showdown, pitting some of the world’s best indoor players from Ireland and beyond against each other.
It provides an unforgettable experience for the young players, playing all day before enjoying an incredible hockey experience in the evening.
“The senior players who go over take the games very relaxed, it really is a showpiece for the kids,” Gormley said of the Showdown. “However when we took to the pitch it gets competitive quickly! I think I saw steam coming out of Teun Rohof’s ears at one point!!
“There was a great mix of players from different countries. The highlight for me was seeing some of what Benni Wess, Andreu Enrich, Robert Tigges and Teun Rohof can do on an indoor pitch… though top prize for silky skills must go to Nicki Leijs – the boy must have glue on his stick!
As for the atmosphere: “Unbelievable. When you have a good indoor venue it multiplies the noise like you wouldn’t imagine. I remember one indoor match in Germany that was in a really compact hall and the 200 spectators sounded more like 2,000!
“PSi has a great mix of hockey and good fun. There is music, energy, constant prize giveaways, a great mascot and a DJ all combining to make the occasion what it is. In terms of noise and energy, it really does compare to some of the bigger outdoor crowds I have played in front of!
Gormley currently lives in Germany where he plays with Crefelder HTC. The country is one of the main drives of indoor hockey worldwide, allowing him to see first hand the value the version of the sport can bring.
“The speed they play at is incredible and you can really see how the reduced space and increased ball contact vastly improve key areas of their game – tight skills, control, accuracy of passing, speed of decision making, low body position and goal scoring.
“A mistake in indoor is very often punished by a goal, so the value on basics and accuracy is huge. It is only natural that this then transfers to their outdoor play and mentality and I think we can all recognize some of these traits in the German teams we have seen over the years.
“One further area not mentioned above is tactical discipline. This is key in indoor in terms of the angles you need to defend or angles you need to create for offensive passes.
“Transfer this to outdoor and your ability to play your way out of a press can improve significantly, along with the ability of a team to cover the right angles defensively and make the area they have to defend smaller and more manageable.”
And his message for any young players thinking of taking part?
“DO IT! Really can’t recommend it enough!