In 2018, SoftCo began its sponsorship of the Irish Women’s Hockey Team as they embarked on their unforgettable World Cup 2018 journey. Overcoming formidable opponents like the USA, India, and Spain in nail-biting matches, they ultimately reached the Finals, winning a silver medal. Recognizing the team’s incredible achievements, in August 2021 SoftCo extended its sponsorship of the Ladies Senior team, and the partnership was further expanded to include the Under 21 and Under 23 development squads. Adding to their remarkable journey, these exceptional women achieved their dream of representing Ireland in the Olympics once again, in Tokyo 2021.
Ronan O’Gara, the legendary Irish number 10 retired from professional rugby in 2013 after a trophy-laden career as the record points scorer for Munster and Ireland, the country’s most-capped player and the leading all-time scorer in both the Heineken Cup and RBS 6 Nations. O’Gara captained his club and country as well as the British and Irish Lions. His coaching career started as defensive coach at Racing 92 in France and then moved on to the New Zealand Super Rugby Champions, Crusaders as Assistant Coach. O’Gara is currently Head Coach at French Top 14 side La Rochelle.
Ayeisha McFerran is one of the world’s best hockey goalkeepers and was FIH Goalkeeper of the Year nominee in 2018 and 2019. She played an instrumental role in Ireland’s run to the 2018 Women’s Hockey World Cup Final, where she was named goalkeeper of the tournament. She made her senior Ireland debut against Spain in 2014 and has represented Ireland at multiple tournaments. Ayeisha completed a four-year hockey scholarship at the University of Louisville where she was named three times as an NFHCA All-American. In August 2019, McFerran joined Dutch Hoofdklasse club SV Kampong.
Troy Merritt is an established star of professional golf. Hailing from Osage, Iowa USA, Troy had an outstanding collegiate golf career winning an unprecedented 21 tournaments. Troy turned professional in 2008 and has since played on the PGA Tour and Web.com Tour. Merritt won the Kodak Challenge in 2011 and secured his maiden PGA Tour win in 2015 at the Quicken Loans National where he set a course record 61 at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club. Troy won his second PGA Tour event at the 2018 Barbasol Championship.
Sean O’Keeffe is one of the most exciting new talents in the world of National Hunt Horse Racing. He began his career in the amateur ranks and as an 18-year-old, rode his first winner, Cordovan Brown at Punchestown in October 2017. It was only his second ride. His career really took off when he turned professional in August of the following year and since then he has developed into one of the most sought-after jockeys. In March 2022, he achieved his biggest victory to date on The Nice Guy at the Cheltenham Festival. In March 2022, he achieved his biggest victory to date when landing the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices´ Hurdle on The Nice Guy at the Cheltenham Festival.
Founded in 1975, the UCD Ladies Boat Club has grown into one of the most successful college clubs in Ireland. In their first season as part of #TeamSoftCo the Senior and Novice crews took home both The Corcoran Cup and The Sally Moorhead Trophy at the Colours Boat Race against Trinity College Dublin in March 2021. In June 2022 they competed at Henley Royal Regatta, where they beat Oxford University in the first round of racing, becoming the first ever UCD Ladies Boat Club crew to make in through a round of racing at this world class regatta. The squad finished the season in July at the Irish National Championships, where they successfully defended the Intermediate 8+ title.
Paul Nolan has become one of the most high-profile National Hunt Horse Racing Trainers over the last number of years. In conjunction with his brother James, the Nolan Yard has experienced significant success and substantial investment in recent times and in 2020 the yard will have approximately 100 horses in training. Paul began his National Hunt training career in 1996 and since then his stables have produced numerous high profile winners including ‘Joncol’, winner of the 2010 Hennessy Gold Cup in Leopardstown, ‘Noble Prince’, winner of the 2011 Jewson Novices’ Steeple Chase at the famous Cheltenham Festival and ‘Defy Logic’, winner of the Grade 1 Racing Post Novice Steeplechase. His latest superstar is SoftCo’s very own Mrs. Milner who won the Pertemps Network Final at the Cheltenham Festival.
In January 2022, SoftCo announced that it had signed an agreement with Hockey Ireland to become the main sponsors of the Irish Men’s National team and both development squads. This historic development signifies a significant milestone in Irish National Sport, as it marks the first time that both the Irish men and women’s teams receive equal levels of support. This alignment perfectly resonates with hockey’s commitment to promoting gender equality in terms of opportunities and ambitions. With SoftCo’s unwavering support, the Irish men’s team is now well-positioned to embark on an ambitious journey towards qualifying for the prestigious Paris 2024 Olympics. This partnership not only strengthens the team’s pursuit of excellence but also serves as a testament to SoftCo’s dedication to fostering the growth and success of Irish hockey on the global stage.
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