Joan Priestman (nee Horne)
September 05, 2023
Joan Priestman (nee Horne) (6th May 1929 – 05th September 2023)
[Note - a minutes silence will be observed ahead of each of the Girls Interprovincial matches taking place in Three Rock Rovers this Sunday 10th Sept]
It is with great sadness that we have learned of the passing of Joan Priestman (nee Horne) on 05th September. An Honorary Life Member of Muckross Hockey Club, Leinster Hockey, Irish Ladies Hockey Union and Hockey Ireland, Joan was capped for Ireland 43 times. She was also inducted into the Hockey Ireland Hall of Fame in 2006.
A larger than life character and force of nature, Joan was instrumental in bringing the 8th Women’s Hockey World Cup to Dublin in 1994 and was Chairperson of the organising committee.
Leinster Hockey President Deirdre Mathews remembered Joan’s passion for hockey and her enthusiasm, encouragement and passion for the sport adding “it was always a pleasure to see Joan appearing pitch side, in all weathers, to cheer on the teams and while her mobility might have slowed her down a bit over recent years, she was always a strong advocate for the sport and especially the women’s game at club and schools level. Into her 90s, Joan was regularly on the sideline in Muckross School cheering on her beloved Muckross HC. She will be sadly missed and on behalf of everyone in Leinster Hockey I would like to offer my sympathy to her family at this sad time”.
Joan was educated at Muckross College and Dominican Convent, Wicklow. While at Wicklow she won her first Interprovincial honour, playing at centre forward for Leinster Schools. Joan was a very versatile player and played all positions, except goal, at representative level. After leaving school in 1947, she joined Muckross HC and she was soon playing for the Leinster senior squad at centre forward and, in 1949, at left inner. In 1950, she travelled to The Hague with the Irish Touring Team and in 1952 she won her first international cap playing against Wales on March 1st at Baldon Drive.
Joan was a member of the Irish team to the IFWHA Conference at Folkstone in 1953 and in in 1954, she was on the Irish team which toured the USA winning all but two matches which were drawn with the host country.
In 1958, she was picked at left back for Ireland against England at Celtic Park, Belfast, the match ending in a 2 all draw. But the greatest honour came in 1962, when, as Irish captain, Joan led her team to a 2-0 home win over England at Londonbridge Road; their first win over them for twelve years. The following year, she captained the Irish team which beat Holland 3-2, a feat which has not been achieved since and in 1965 in Celtic Park, she lead the team to a 2-1 victory over a highly experienced South African team, the only country to beat them on their tour of Great Britain & Ireland.
In Sept 1965, Joan travelled with the combined Great Britain & Ireland side which toured the USA, as one of only three Irish players included in the selection. In 1969 Joan represented Leinster for the last time when she literally came out of retirement to travel and play in Jamaica.
Joan was Hon Secretary of the ILHU from 1971 to 1975 and Leinster President from 1987 to 1990. In 1989 she was part of the committee which travelled to Brussels to make the case for Ireland hosting the Women’s Hockey World Cup. The FIH agreed and so her dream came true in the summer of 1994 when, as chairperson of the world Cup Committee, she headed up the Organising Committee which successfully staged the 8th Women’s Hockey World Cup in Dublin. At the Centenary AGM on 22nd October 1994, Joan was honoured with Life Membership of the ILHU, an appropriate acknowledgement of her service to Irish Hockey [source ILHU, The First 100 Years].
Rest in Peace Joan
Funeral details can be found at RIP.ie - Click Here