Sunday 16 September 2018

Ali Meeke - World Cup Final 2018

August 5, 2018 and by some outlandish miracle the Ireland Women's hockey team were lined-up next to their Dutch counterparts in the tunnel, about to run on the pitch to play in the final of the World Cup.  I'll never forget that feeling, absolutely fan girling over every single one.  I looked at each player from the front line to the back, with the biggest smile on my face, relishing this moment, this opportunity, this experience - one that was about to change my life forever.  I visulaised certain situations, thought about how I promised myself I would not stop working as hard as I could out there because we knew that the Dutch play the best give and go game.  The adrenaline was pumping, and then we were running out of the tunnel.
We were assailed by a sea of green support, with surging cries and cheers that took my breath away.  We ran by flames leaping high into the air, but nothing could compare to the warmth of support that came washing over us from the crowd.  An then the anthem - reverberating around the stadium -  an experience that neither hockey, nor any sport had ever had before... Our anthem being played at a World Cup Final.  Similar large events happen for rugby, for football, but this time it was our turn, the turn of women's hockey, it was our turn, our day.  Overwhelmed by emotion, no tears fell, for we had done it - this was the final and we would savour it forever.
Ali Meeke
Memories of the Greatest Day