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Ulster Hockey is extremely saddened to hear of the passing of former President A D Rose who passed away peacefully on 19th May.

A colossus in sport in general, but with a particular focus on hockey, Dixon has had an enormous impact on both Ulster Hockey and Hockey Ireland.  Dixon was an Ulster (104 caps) and Irish international (14 caps) having captained both the Province and National teams.  A distinguished player for club, Province and country, he was renowned as a hard-tackling defender.  He played cricket at Instonians and was a member of the Shane Park team that won the NCU Senior League Championship in 1962 before captaining the club to their only Senior Challenge Cup success two years later. He played for Ulster Town and NCU representative teams for many years..

Considered ‘Mr Cliftonville’, Dixon followed in the footsteps of this father in becoming involved in the administrative side of the sport at Cliftonville Cricket & Hockey Club.  Dixon served as Honorary Secretary of Cliftonville then CI Men’s Hockey club for 56 years.  Alongside his brother Carson, the siblings committed over 100 years of combined service to the club, an achievement which was recognised in a celebration in 2016.

Dixon has been the President of Ulster Hockey and Irish Hockey (twice) and was instrumental in the formation of the Ulster Hockey Union in 2009 through the amalgamation of the Ulster Branch of the Irish Hockey Association and the Ulster Women’s Hockey Union.  In addition, he is the only person to have been awarded the presidency of both Irish hockey and cricket unions having served as the Irish Cricket Union President in 1984. Dixon was involved in a wide variety of committees across hockey, cricket and also the Sports Council for NI.  There are too many accolades to list.

As an administrator Dixon earned a reputation as a no-nonsense straight talker. He could be argumentative and abrasive at times, but his dedication and commitment were qualities that shone through – Dixon got things done.  Many learned early in in their dealings with Mr Rose not to argue with him as he was invariably always right. He wore many hats including sponsorship, administration and sports promotion and his organisation of major hockey tournaments was exceptional and his vision and enthusiasm were major factors in the growth of Irish hockey on the international stage.

Hockey is clearly in the DNA of the Rose family, as Dixon’s son Jonathan became the third generation of the family to have success in the sport having played at Junior Age Group level for Ireland and following in his father’s footsteps in administration, serving on the Board of Ulster Hockey.  His grandson Patrick has also recently broken into the Senior Ireland Hockey squad having represented Ulster Age Grade squads and Sullivan Upper school with distinction.

A proud Instonian who contributed significantly to the Instonians Cricket Club and sport in the Royal Belfast Academical Institution, Dixon was awarded the MBE in 2008 for his voluntary services to Northern Ireland sport.

Dixon will be fondly remembered as a giant of the sport, a tough negotiator, a man of great commitment, passion and integrity and also as a gentleman with a dry sense of humour. The thoughts of everyone at Ulster Hockey go to Dixon’s family – his wife Joan, son Jonathan, daughters Lynsey and Tracey, brothers Carson and Andrew and their families.

In the words of Past President Brian Hanna,  “In one sense Dixon’s passing is the end of an era but his influence will continue to be present with us well into the future”


Ronnie Sterrit

Very sad news  last week with the passing of Ronnie Sterritt former Cliftonville Hockey Club player.

Ronnie was the ultimate Club stalwart, he Captained Cliftonville for 4 terms: 1972-74, 1977-79, 1981-84 & 1985-87 and proudly won the Senior League 6 times and won 2 Irish Cup Medals (‘75 & ‘76) plus 2 Kirk Cup medals and 2 Anderson Cup medals.

Ronnie represented Ulster and served on the Ulster Hockey Branch Council for many years and was Chair of the Disciplinary Committee.  A great friend and mentor to myself and many others, a tenacious competitor who always gave 100% on the field and a true gentleman both on and off the pitch.

Ronnie simply loved the sport of hockey and really enjoyed touring, training and the after match craic.  He played in the inaugural Ireland Masters Hockey Mens’ Squad and also coached Masters.

Ronnie was also an accomplished cricketer with Collegians Cricket Club and in retirement, played golf at Rockmount Golf Club.

Sincere condolences, thoughts and prayers for Denise, Gregg and Joan, Gary, Karen and all their families.


John Flack

Ulster Hockey is also saddened to hear of the passing of journalist John Flack after a period of illness.

John played hockey for MCB and Collegians, particularly enjoying the craic of being involved in the  Summer Mixed Tournaments.  However, it was off the field of play in the media where John found his niche d made an immeasurable contribution to the sport.

John was a long term supporter of Ulster and Irish Hockey whilst also reserving the right to be one for the sports harshest critics.  Very rarely did a major hockey event pass without John’s presence and he will be sadly missed by all in the sport of hockey and in his profession.  In John’s long career, his interest in hockey has produced endless column inches and the positive impact raising the profile of the sport will be sadly missed.

Pen and notebook in hand, John was the media man for the sport who always enjoyed a post-match libation as he worked to pick up the latest scoop for the Belfast Telegraph and other local press. We thank ‘Flackie’ for the headlines, write-ups and decades of dedicated service to the local and International hockey.

Everyone at Ulster Hockey pass our thoughts to John’s wife Catherine, brother Derek and John’s wider family circle.

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