Róisín Upton and Goal Visit St Matthew’s for Jersey Day Celebrations!

On Wednesday 30th September, 5th and 6th Class gathered in the yard (social distancing, of course!) awaiting a very special visitor. Róisín Upton, for those of you that don’t know, is a World Cup Finalist Irish hockey player, who plays centre-mid/back. She is also the ambassador for the charity Goal, and that’s why she came to our school on Wednesday. Of course, we were all very excited to meet her and had so many questions (mostly about hockey)!


Róisín told us her story about how she only started hockey when she was in 1st Year of secondary school and had to choose which sport to stick with – hockey, Gaelic or soccer/football. She chose hockey because she found it difficult, but she liked challenges, and she was lucky she did, because I bet she would never have guessed she would be where she is now – a member of the first Irish team to reach the World Cup final in any sport!

Ireland made the World Cup final in 2018. After an amazing run, sadly, the Irish women’s hockey team lost the World Cup final to the Netherlands 6-0. At first, Róisín Upton said she was really disappointed when they lost the final but about 30 seconds to one minute later she looked around her and realised what an achievement it was. She saw all the people cheering for Ireland and was proud of the huge success they had achieved. Before the final, the Netherlands would never play Ireland in a friendly because they thought Ireland were no good. But now they will be more willing to play them in matches!


More recently, the Irish Women’s hockey team made it through the 2021 Olympic qualifiers by beating Canada in a thrilling penalty shootout. They are the first Irish hockey team ever to qualify for the Olympics! Róisín said it was both a fun and nerve-racking experience. They will hopefully win! We will be following it closely when it happens!

As a hockey player, Róisín has had a lot of different injuries, such as broken fingers, a screw in her foot and hip damage! We learned that as well as being a hockey player, Róisín is also a primary school teacher in her home county, Limerick.  She often travels to Dublin for training as there are better pitches here.

As part of her role as Ambassador to Goal, Róisín got to go to Malawi, Africa. She visited a school where most children had to walk to school for an hour barefoot. Some children knew English, but she still needed a translator. The children have no shoes, ripped clothes and so much less than us in general, they were still happy. Róisín said it was amazing that Goal is able to help children like them all over the world.

To wrap up the talk, she took a picture of all of us with her. Can you spot her?

Six lucky children were then chosen to have a picture with her as part of an official Goal photoshoot to launch their new commemorative jersey to promote Jersey Day. Here are some of the photos we took, which we were kindly allowed to put on our site! You can see the press release with the original photos here: https://www.goalglobal.org/stories/get-your-favourite-kit-on-for-goal-jersey-day-on-october-9th/  

Photographer Paul Sherwood 

Photographer Paul Sherwood

Photographer Paul SherwoodThe children really enjoyed meeting Róisín Upton and learning about her. She was very inspiring. All in all, it was a great day.

The children, who were chosen at random, had a wonderful time at the photoshoot and took loads of photos. They got to keep one of Goal’s jerseys and even got it signed by Róisín Upton herself!

St. Matthew’s will be taking part in Goal’s Jersey Day appeal on Friday 9th October and we are all inspired by our visit by Róisín Upton and the Goal team. Wear your jersey and bring in a donation to support a very worthy cause!

Written by 6th Class Pupils; photos courtesy of Goal and Mr. McAndrew/Ms Fallows