The club first registered with the Ulster Women’s’ Hockey Union in the 1940’s but for a significant period of time had the distinct disadvantage of having no home pitch. Initially the club played all home matches in Belfast, and in the early days, when few owned their own cars, travelled together to each venue in McGuigans wedding limousine! Since its formation almost 70 years ago the club has come a long way!
Throughout the years the teams have played at a variety of ‘home’ venues: Orangefield, Castlewellan Road Banbridge, Donacloney and Banbridge High School. Indeed, it was only after the construction of a gravel pitch at Ferris Park on the Banbridge Road in Dromore in 1996 that the club were truly able to play ‘home’ matches.
For many years players travelled outside of Dromore in order to train and credit shouldbe given to the coach at the time Noel Best and players for their dedication to the club. A secure foundation was laid and teams made significant progress in the various sections of the Ulster Women’s’ Hockey League.
It is in recent years however that the club has really become a force to be reckoned with. In September 2000 the club acquired the services of a new coach, Jonny McBride, and with him came new initiatives, training programmes and vision. An Executive Committee, presided over by Catherine Stanley, was formed and regular meetings helped promote the growth of the Senior Club and the establishment of the very successful Junior Section.
The 2001/2 season brought about the formalisation of Junior Hockey while the 2002/2003 season ushered in the era of astro turf hockey at Ferris Park.
The success and development of the club continued during the 2003-04 season with the 2nd XI squad writing themselves into the clubs history books winning promotion to the Intermediate League for the first time while the season after (2004/05) saw the introduction of the 5th XI. The 3rd XI also won promotion out of the Minor leagues, again another first for the club. To complete a successful season Dromore saw four of its young players selected to wear the red of Ulster, the first players to represent Ulster in a long time, in the form of the Ulster U16b squad – Zoe Bawden, Becky Russell, Rachelle Adams and Tina Matier all making the grade.September 2003 brought about the establishment of the official Dromore Ladies’ Hockey Club website and you can catch up on all recent developments, club news and social events online at http://www.dromoreladieshockey.com/
The 2006/07 season saw The 1st XI reached the final of the May Costley Cup Final at UCD, only to narrowly lose out to Moyne Thurles, while the 5th XI lost to Ards 5th in the Minor Cup Final. The 3rd XI had the joy though of winning the first trophy in 8 years, beating Omagh 3rd XI in the final of the Junior Plate. The Juniors also got in on the act, with the U14 Squad winning their League and Cup double, being crowned Northern Ireland Champions after a thrilling Cup Final against Randalstown U14’s. Four more players were selected for Ulster, Tina Matier, Kerri McDonald and Julie Morton for the U16b while 1st XI player Nicola Wilson was selected for the Ulster Junior Squad.
With the growth and development continuing, Dromore fielded a 7th XI for the first time during the 2007/08 season. On the playing from 2007/08 saw the most successful season to date, the club triumphed in 4 league campaigns with the 1st, 4th, 5th & 6th XI all won their leagues, while the 2 nd and 3 rd XI finished runners-up in their respective leagues and therefore also promoted. More silverware followed, the 1st XI again reaching the May Costley Cup Final at UCD, this time securing the win by defeating Clonmel of Tipperary. The 3rd and 4th XI both contested the Minor Plate Final with the 3 rd XI coming out on top. Another all Dromore clash followed in the Section 10 & 11 Cup as the 5th & 6th fought out a great semi-final with a victorious 5th XI going on to meet and draw Randalstown 5th XI in the Cup Final and share the Cup. The U14’s also had a tremendous season, this time losing out in the league campaign on goal difference, and another Northern Ireland Cup final but unfortunately finishing runners-up to Victorians U14’s. More players were selected for Ulster, Rachel Morrow and Laura Gamble made the full U16 Squad, while Kerri McDonald, Laura Irwin and Chelsey Whan were all selected for U16b competition.
To Cap a remarkable and successful season Dromore Ladies Hockey Club had the honour and distinction of being named the UWHU Club of the Year for 2007/08 at the recent UWHU Awards Lunch, a proud moment and testament to all the hard work and determination for all associated with the club.
There is no doubt about it – Dromore Ladies’ Hockey Club is a club not only dedicated to playing high quality hockey but one which is developing at an enormous rate and is keen to promote the sport amongst all ages and abilities. New members are always welcome and if you are keen to join or just curious to see what goes on why not call down to Ferris park during one of our training sessions