Ballymoney Hockey Club 1stXI has suffered a massive blow and the season has not yet begun.
The news broke at the weekend that Sammy-Jo Greer, one of the best players at the club, has accepted a scholarship to Queen’s University under the condition that she play for them.
The news has shocked the players at the Ballymoney club. Sammy Joe is not only regarded as a key element in the squad but her inspirational approach and dedication motivated the other players.
“We were all shocked by the news but there’s not a lot we can do about it now. We’ll just have to show added resolve in the coming season, but it’s not a good start,” one player said.
Jo returned to the Ballymoney club last season after attending University in Leeds and it turned out to be a brilliant year for her.
After obtaining her first Irish Senior Cap in August she went on to help her Ulster U21 teammates win the Interpros.
Playing for her home club Ballymoney, who have one of the best defensive records in the league, finished second in the Premier League, reached the semi-final of the Irish Senior Cup and won the Ulster Shield.
A spokesperson for the club said: “Naturally, we are delighted for Sammy Jo. This is a brilliant opportunity for her and we wish her all the very best. No doubt she will do very well with her new club.
“It is also a big blow to our team. Good goalkeepers are a penny to a dozen and she will be exceptionally hard to replace but we have a few options that we will work on in the coming weeks.
“It won’t weaken our resolve to emulate last season’s magnificent achievements. If we do as well this time round there’ll be few complaints.”