— ooo —
Saturday 21st September 2013 is a date which has been ringed in Donaghadee Ladies Hockey Club’s calendar since Ulster Hockey announced the 2013/14 fixtures, and it will be a date which will be long remembered in the future as the day on which the Club fielded two full teams to play league games for the first time since the 1980s – indeed the last time a Donaghadee LHC 2nd XI took to the pitch was before a number of the current club members were born! On the day, neither result was to go in the Dee’s favour but this was a day for celebration for not only all the players who pulled on a red and green shirt on Saturday but also for a number of former players who well remember the two-team days who came to support the 1st XI playing at home.
Senior League 4: DLHC 1st XI 2-6 Mossley 1st XI
Donaghadee LHC 1st XI started their 2013/14 league campaign at home to old adversaries Mossley on the new astroturf pitch at Bangor Grammar, this year’s home pitch for the Dee. Both sides started brightly with plenty of interchanges as each tried to find a way through the respective defences. It was in fact Donaghadee who should have opened the scoring after a superb run in to the circle by left wing Ruth Kennedy. The Mossley keeper was out very quickly to take player and ball, with the clearance falling to right winger Carolyn Scott. She really should have done better to finish the chance but the ball was skewed wide of the left post. Other chances went begging for the Dee and they were soon punished by strong play from the Mossley forwards. The first half finished 2-0 to the away side.
The second half was much the same, with the Donaghadee midfield of Kerry Savage, Ali Lawther and Katie Donnelly working tirelessly to try to stem the Mossley flow. The pressure told though, with Mossley scoring another couple from well worked penalty corners. The Dee’s defence of Captain Suzie Ferguson, Nina Wells, Jennifer McVeigh and Lisa Higgins were playing their part to break down the ball in open play and they were doing a sterling job of protecting Siobhan McAdam in goal. With the game becoming stretched in all areas of the pitch, more goals were inevitable and they came at both ends. Mossley grabbed another couple but Donaghadee were also rewarded for their hard work with two super goals of their own. The first came from an outstanding run down the right wing by centre forward Kerrie Turtle who found Katie unmarked in the circle. She calmly slotted a reverse stick shot between the legs of the oncoming keeper to cap a first class personal performance. Kerrie’s own hard work was then rewarded when a ball played deep out of defence to Carolyn on the right wing. The forward sliced open the Mossley defence with a diagonal ball forward to Kerrie hovering on the attacking 25. With plenty still to do, Kerrie took on and beat the Mossley keeper for a richly deserved goal of her own. Although the scoreline was not terribly flattering to the Dee on this occasion, coach Brian McKee was pleased with the overall performance of the team generally and felt that there were plenty of positives to be taken from the game. Many thanks to Will McAdam for umpiring. The 1st XI are next in action on Saturday 28th September away to South Antrim.
Junior 9: Ballycastle 1st XI 0-4 Donaghadee 2nd XI
Saturday was the first league match for the newly formed Donaghadee 2nd XI, so filled with excitement and nerves the girls made their way to Ballycastle. From the first whistle Ballycastle applied extreme pressure to the Dee defence of Amy Long, Alex McVeigh, Captain Lisa Alexander, and Morgan McCollough. The defence held strong and, despite their many attempts on goal, Ballycastle were denied by great work from the Donaghadee defenders. With the pressure the Dee defence were under, the midfield trio of Deborah Gilmour, Claire Stewart and Carmen Van de Schaff dropped back a little in order to keep Ballycastle away from the goal mouth. The pressure eventually told though with a penalty corner giving Ballycastle the goal they were looking for, and in quick succession two more as the defence began to tire due to the constant pressure.
The Dee girls came out after half time with renewed energy and Donaghadee enjoyed a few breaks from midfield to the forwards of Maura Hennessey, Caitland Crockett, and Jan Morrow. The Ballycastle defence held firm however, quickly closing down and not really giving the Dee any chances. Again Ballycastle were strong on the attack but good clearances by defender Hannah McAdam took some of the pressure off. After some confusion in the Donaghadee circle, Ballycastle got their fourth of the day but this did not deter the Dee; after that goal they worked hard for the remainder of the half to try to find a goal of their own but unfortunately it was to no avail. Special mention needs to go to keeper Tina Sterling who kept her composure and made numerous great saves denying the opposition a handful more goals. She was the well deserved player of the match. Many thanks to Mike Smyth for umpiring and Teegan Greer as injured supporter! After a tough first match the girls are now looking forward to their next match on 5th Oct away to Banbridge.