Tributes paid as hockey superstar sadly passes away

Tributes have been paid to local woman Dr Moira McKelvey (née Hopkins) who passed away peacefully on Thursday January 11, 2024.
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Hockey Ireland and Ulster Hockey both paid tribute to the former hockey player from Saintfield, who lived her last years at Park Manor Oaks Care Home in Dunmurry.

Moira had a very distinguished hockey career which started off at Victoria College, Belfast.

When she was at school, she won her first full international cap for Ireland at the age of 17.

Tributes have been paid by Hockey Ireland and Ulster Hockey to former player  Dr Moira McKelvey, who sadly passed away. Pic credit: Hockey IrelandTributes have been paid by Hockey Ireland and Ulster Hockey to former player  Dr Moira McKelvey, who sadly passed away. Pic credit: Hockey Ireland
Tributes have been paid by Hockey Ireland and Ulster Hockey to former player Dr Moira McKelvey, who sadly passed away. Pic credit: Hockey Ireland

Moira had 15 Irish caps from 1953 to 1971 and represented Ulster in Interprovincial matches from 1952 to the late 1970s.

After she graduated from Queens University in Medicine, she played for Victorians from 1958 to the late 1980s when she was nearly 50 years of age.

A newspaper article, written in the Belfast Telegraph by Artie O’Neill in February 1981, had the headline, ‘Victorians owe a lot to Moira’, saying the young squad had the benefit of the maturity of former international Moira upfront and ’the speed that Moira moves on the field certainly belies her age’.

Off the pitch Moira contributed greatly to hockey in Ulster.

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She was President of the Ulster Women’s Hockey Union from 1981-1983 and sat on the Ulster Women’s Hockey Committee for many years.

She was President of Victorians Ladies Hockey Club from 1985 to 2007 and was actively involved in the club as a player and an official for 49 years.

Condolences have been sent to her husband, Jimmy, son Bill, grandsons Ben, Matt and Nick, and her sister Thelma, who is in Canada.

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