Astro Turf Pitch Opening

Written by | News, Sport

The Wallace High School will officially open their brand new astro turf hockey pitch next Friday (20th June) with a day of celebration planned at the Lisburn school.

Wallace are grateful to Sport NI and also the Trustees for their financial support in this exciting development which sees Wallace putting down the first blue astro pitch in Northern Ireland. Modelled on the “smurf turf” which was played on during the Olympic Games hockey tournament in London 2012, the move will give hockey players at the Lisburn school a top class facility on their own doorstep, whilst it will also be available for the community outside normal school hours.
Next Friday will begin with local Primary school children being invited to the school to be coached by some of the senior players with the emphasis being mainly on having fun and learning some of the skills of the game. There will also be face painting and refreshments and the opportunity to be coached by some of the players who have recently brought the McCullough Cup and Burney Cups back to Wallace, as well as representing their province and country.

In the afternoon, junior hockey players in the school will be coached by current international and past pupil Daniel Buser, whilst it is hoped that there will be some involvement from coaches involved with the Irish international teams. This exciting opportunity precedes three matches which will hopefully encourage the local hockey community to come and visit the school where they will be sure to receive a warm welcome.


At 4.00pm the current girls’ 1st XI will play the 2011 1st XI which reached the final of the Schoolgirls’ Cup before being defeated on penalty strokes by Lurgan College. At 5.30pm boys who have represented the school this season will be joined by past pupils in a game where teams will be mixed. It is also hoped that several past senior international players will come out of retirement for this game which can only add to the occasion.

Whilst the hockey is going on , the hard working PTA have organised a plethora of activities which should prove attractive to families in the local area. There will be bouncy castles, face painting, Zorbing, Batak and a climbing wall, whilst there will be a barbecue running throughout the day.

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One of the highlights of the day and also the school year will be a display by the Wild Geese sky diving team which will take place between 6.30 and 6.45pm. They will deliver the match ball for the final game of the day and the five team members will land on mats which have been sold, with each mat landed on winning a prize. These mats are £2 or three for £5 and are available from the front office at school or from any of the PTA members in school. Those involved in the PTA also wish to thank all the people and businesses who have donated prizes which are as follows:

  • Static line parachute course at the Wild Geese Centre
  • £100 cash sponsored by Queen’s University
  • PRM chilled food hamper
  • One night stay at the Radisson Blu Farnham Estate (including use of health club, breakfast and leisure facilities) sponsored by Oasis Travel
  • Little Wing Pizzeria voucher

Dame Mary Peters will officially open the pitch at 7pm before an Ulster under 17 boys’ XI take on their Scottish counterparts in the official opening match on the new pitch. All involved at hockey in Wallace are indebted to Ulster And Scottish Hockey for bringing the game to Lisburn and know that it will be a fitting start to this exciting new journey. Several pupils from Wallace are expected to be involved in the Ulster squad which has yet to be released.

Wallace Principal, Mrs Deborah O’Hare is keen to welcome as many guests as possible to this day of celebration and commented: “This is a facility not only to benefit our hockey players but one which will benefit the community of Lisburn. Without the support of the Trustees of the school and Sport NI this would not have been possible. In times of such austerity it was encouraging to note that local government funding was still available as an important investment in the health and well being of generations of young people who will use this facility for a variety of sporting activities. The school has an exciting couple of years ahead now with further investment as provided by the Department of Education and the Trustees to build a state of the art conditioning and fitness suite, new changing facilities and and enhanced facilities in Art and Design, Home Economics and Technology and Design .”

Commenting on the facility, Chief Executive of Sport Northern Ireland, Antoinette McKeown, said:

“Sport Northern Ireland is delighted to have supported Wallace High School in funding the 2G hockey pitch. It is great to see that our investment of almost £245k is providing value for money and increased sporting opportunities for our young people. Facilities such as Wallace High School are vital in increasing the number of children and adults experiencing, enjoying and participating in sport and physical activity.”

With the matches starting at 4pm and running through until 9pm, alongside the other exciting events, it would be great to welcome as many people from Lisburn and beyond to join in the celebrations.

Last modified: June 16, 2020