We recently caught up Cormac McKay of the Oscar Wilde LGBT+ Men's hockey club to chat about his new inclusive club and why you should consider joining them for their first season of training!
Tell me a bit about your background in hockey?
I've been playing hockey for about 24 years now. It was very much a family sport. My dad, my borther and my cousins all played hockey. We played for a club called Smithfield and then about 5 years ago we won the league and folded. We had so many retirements and emigrations that we couldn't keep the team going so I joined a new team, St. Brendan's Phoenix Park, and I've been playing with them ever since. Two years ago they merged with Swords Girls and Fingal and we're now Dublin North, the biggest club on the North side.
What motivated you to set up the Oscar Wilde LGBT inclusive men's club?
I actually went and played in the EuroGames in Stockholm about four years ago, an LGBTI inclusive multi sport event. I just answered an ad on facebook. It was a Danish team that was looking for players so I ended up playing with the Black Swans of Copenhagen. I really, really enjoyed it! I met the Pink Ladies over there and I made a promise to the Ladies that I'd try and form an Irish team so here I am now trying to get it going.
I also find that playing this sport has helped a lot with stress relief in my own life. I had been caring for a friend who passed away a few weeks ago. Getting this club up and running and playing hockey is helping me to move forward.
What will be the aim of the club in it's first year?
The aim of the club is to compete at the EuroGames 2020 in Dusseldorf. It's a big competition, not just hockey. The Pink Ladies will be going and, fingers crossed, we have a men's team going over as well, that's the plan. It's always more fun when it's overseas and it's very much a fun competition. It's not hyper competitive and I truly enjoyed it when I was in Stockholm so I definitely want to try and get a men's team going.
What level of experience is someone going to need if they want to join your team?
Well there's a lot of players that would have played over the years and have left clubs for various reasons so it would be a good opportunity for them to play in a club again.
Would you take on complete beginners?
Yes, for sure. My plan is to do training with Dublin North so we can have combined sessions and even work with the Pink Ladies, join up with them for a training session maybe. Hockey is quite easy to get the hang of it. It's also a very fast sport and that's why I like it. We would probably aim for just one training session a week, depending on our numbers. It's very much a work in progress at the moment but we do hope to team up with other teams and do a combination of trainings. We might even go down the country as well!
When do you hope to commence the training?
I hope to start the training as soon as Dublin North starts their training so that will hopefully be in the next month or so. We've already had a couple of interested players so fingers crossed we might even have 2 teams going over. I reckon there's enough players because it's an all Ireland sport, not just Leinster. I will be writing to all the clubs around the country and inviting them to send a player if they want. It will be something fun as well to come up to Dublin, not many people would have an opportunity to come up. Another plan is to try and have a friendly competition before Dusseldorf next year. Next April we're planning on bringing over the London Royals and possibly the Black Swans and another team from Scotland. It won't be totally LGBT but it will be open to everybody and very LGBT friendly.
Do you find hockey to be an inclusive sport?
Yes, very much so. It's never been an issue for me anyways!
If you're interested in finding out more about the Oscar Wilde's LGBTQ men's hockey club you can contact Cormac McKay on 0857111888 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org . You can also follow them on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Oscar-Wildes-LGBTQ-mens-hockey-club-2710879852257178/