BY KIERAN McCARTHY
HE is the world’s best hockey goalkeeper and now David Harte is also the first Irish man to win the Dutch hockey league title, the Hoofdklasse, which is regarded as the best national club league in the world.
It’s no surprise to learn that the Kinsale man was the hero for SV Kampong in their best-of-three final against Rotterdam.
Last week he made the winning save in the first leg and on Saturday Harte produced the goods again, stopping several Rotterdam penalties to show just why he has been selected as the best hockey goalkeeper in the world for the past two years.
‘As a goalkeeper, you can either be the hero or zero when it goes to penalties and I was lucky enough to get in the way of a few more than the other goalkeeper who also did incredibly well, and we ended up coming away with the national title which is an amazing feeling,’ Harte told Red FM this week.
‘It’s the first time since 1985 that my club, SV Kampong, has won the Dutch title and in doing so in quite spectacular fashion, on penalties, is quite a special feeling.
Harte, who captained the Irish hockey team in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, has done more than most to keep the sport in the headlines here at home, with his latest success turning the spotlight back on hockey in Ireland.
‘Anything that raises the profile of Irish hockey and gets people talking about hockey in Ireland, I’m absolutely delighted,’ Harte said.
‘I came over here to try and see if I could compete and get involved in this competition seven years ago and little did I know I’d be winning it this year in such dramatic fashion.
‘To be the first Irish person to win this, I’m delighted and incredibly proud, but more importantly that the spotlight is being put back on Irish hockey ahead of a busy summer.’
Not only is David Harte the first Irish man to win the Hoofdklasse, but the West Cork sports star was also the first Irish man to win Euro Hockey League in 2016 and is the only Irish player ever to win an FIH Player of the Year award when selected as the world’s best hockey goalkeeper in 2015 and 2016.