SEAN DANCER: The coach of the Ireland women's hockey team is originally from Ballina.
SEAN DANCER: The coach of the Ireland women's hockey team is originally from Ballina. Hockey Ireland

Dancing his way to Irish hockey finals

BALLINA hockey product Sean Dancer has helped lead the Irish women's national team to the semi-finals of the FIH Series tournament on home soil at Banbridge.

The Greens had a convincing 11-0 win over Singapore to finish top of their pool on Tuesday.

Dancer played for Queensland Blades in the Australian Hockey League for seven years and won four Brisbane Hockey League titles with Bulimba Hockey Club.

He was also an Australian under-21 representative.

The one-time Brisbane Hockey League best and fairest medal winner then coached in Belgium before attending the 2010 World Cup and 2012 Olympics as assistant coach of the New Zealand men's team.

"I had never planned to be a coach, I have had a very interesting pathway to end up in NZ coaching,” Dancer said.

"I left Australia for a one-year working holiday in Belgium in 2001 and have not been a resident since.

"I enjoyed the coaching and playing lifestyle in Europe, and ended up staying for seven seasons.

"I was offered a full-time coaching role in NZ and have been there since 2009 as a full-time coach.

"I enjoy the challenge of trying to develop players to their potential and find ways of winning against different teams.”

Dancer was assistant coach of the New Zealand women's side which won the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games gold medal.

"I grew up in Shaws Bay and played all my hockey for Ballina Hockey Club,” Dancer said.

"My father still works for the club and it is always good to get back home, normally stopping in at the club to run a coaching session.

"Growing up playing on grass gave me a great base to my basics, some thing young players don't always get now with so much of their development on turf these days.

"Far North Coast has a great hockey community and I hope to one day be able to be back there working in hockey.”



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