She may have helped lead England to a EuroHockey Youth Championships medal, but aspiring Richmond hockey star Holly Munro believes it’s the bond of her team which has been primary to their success.
Named co-captain of her country’s Under-18s for the tournament, Munro helped her side to a bronze-medal for a second consecutive year as England overcame Belgium 3-2 following a penalty shoot-out at the weekend – despite losing 3-0 to Holland in the semi-finals.
But defeat to one of the world’s best sides did little to the side’s confidence in Ireland, with the 18-year-old believing the team spirit displayed ultimately helped claim honours.
“It’s not quite sunk in – winning the bronze again is brilliant, the group is fantastic and the bond between everyone is so special, and that makes winning so rewarding,” said Munro, who is part of the SSE Next Generation programme.
“It was a bit of a blow being forced into penalties as we were 1-0 up with three minutes to go, but the way the girls handled it was brilliant.
“Miriam Pritchard was outstanding in goal, she was fantastic and pulled off some heroic saves in the shoot-out to get us the bronze.
“It’s odd because the standout performance of the tournament was against Holland, we did incredibly well even though we lost, the team worked brilliantly together and that gave us a huge amount of confidence.
“I was incredibly proud of them all, we were just gutted not to make more of it.”
EuroHockey Youth Championships success rounded off a stellar year for Munro, who is part of England’s Senior Development Squad and just one step below the full senior setup.
It’s a year which has marked a step-up beyond her ages for the teenager who has just completed her A-Levels at Kingston Grammar School.
She is now set for the University of Birmingham next month, which will also coincide with her making the next move at club level hockey.
The co-captain role at international level was a new one for Munro but the Surbiton HC player believes she has always shown leadership on the pitch.
“We spread the role around which I think is really key. Everyone is still trying to learn so to give more than one person that chance is hugely important,” added Munro.
“For me to get that experience was fantastic, getting that personal responsibility is a huge part of my development.
“Going out and leading your team and singing the national anthem is something hugely special to me, it’s what you want to be able to do more and more.
“But we strive for leaders through the team, it’s something I’ve tried at whatever level I play and so when I get that opportunity now, I’m ready for it and not overawed.
“Whether you’re a captain or not you need those leaders on the pitch.”
SSE’s Next Generation programme partners with SportsAid to provide financial support and training to the sports stars of the future. Keep up to date with the latest @SSENextGen