In what has been a monumental summer for Irish sport, the island's hockey team may yet come out on top for their heroics at the Women's Hockey World Cup. Booking their place in the tournament's semi-final with yesterday's penalty shoot-out win against India, the Irish hockey captain Katie Mullan has today explained the heartening reason why celebrations have taken a festive turn - at the beginnings of August!
Set to take on Spain in a World Cup semi-final tomorrow afternoon, it has been a tournament where Ireland's hockey players have defied all expectation.
Coming into the tournament with relatively little or no external pressure for a big performance, the team has demonstrated incredible strength of character, fantastic skill and a relentlessness to succeed that will not leave the prospect of reaching a World Cup final looking all that daunting.
This palpable sense of excitement has in turn informed their collective decision to sing Christmas songs at any available moment. Speaking to UTV, the Irish hockey captain Mullan explained the phenomenon:
The night before the tournament started, myself and Zoe were just nodding off to sleep and I said to her, 'Zoe, it feels like Christmas Eve now, and we're getting up tomorrow to get all of our presents.'
That's what it felt like going to bed, that's how ready we were to play in a World Cup.
With tomorrow's game being all that separates Ireland from a place in the World Cup final, Mullan & co will be hoping for a Happy New Year on top of everything else.
You can watch the full interview with the Irish hockey captain Katie Mullan below.
— Ruth Gorman (@RuthGorman_UTV) August 3, 2018