Both Donaghadee Ladies Hockey Club’s First and Second XIs were at home on Saturday; one of the few occasions this season. The Firsts welcomed Newry in the game with the 2.30 passback, having watched and taken inspiration from the Second XI who had shown a great deal of character and determination in the earlier slot against Junior 9 league leaders Ballymena.
Senior League 4: Donaghadee 1st XI 5-0 Newry Olympic LHC
The Firsts were keen to put the previous week’s defeat behind them but with this Saturday’s opponents Newry having started the season with two wins from two, the Dee girls knew they would need to start putting in to practice the work that they have been doing on a Wednesday night in order to take something from this match. From the first whistle there was a clear determination by the Dee to work the ball around the pitch and start stringing a few passes together – something which, although was in evidence in patches against Holywood, really wasn’t utilised enough. And lo and behold, it didn’t take long to see why coach Brian McKee is so keen to get it working. With much of the play going through the midfield of Ali Lawther, Claire Stewart and Kerry Savage, it wasn’t long before the Dee worked their way into the Newry circle. A ball laid back on the right for Claire to crash in found Ali who, having continued her run up the pitch, found herself unmarked in the circle. Catching everyone, even the Newry keeper, on the back foot, Ali guided the ball just inside the near post to open the scoring for Donaghadee, much to the delight of the onlooking Red and Green supporters.
Newry weren’t just on the pitch to make up the numbers however and going a goal behind seemed to spur them in to action. The Dee defensive quartet of Suzie Ferguson, Nina Wells, Hannah McAdam and Lisa Higgins needed to be on their toes to deal with a number of Newry shots on goal but despite the chances, either the strikes went wide or Dee keeper Siobhan McAdam cleared to safety. The action was end to end, high tempo stuff with both teams keen to add to the scoreline and it was Donaghadee’s top goalscorer from last season Kerrie Turtle who added the next two. Her second in particular was well worked down the right with winger Carolyn Scott evading a couple of Newry tackles to square the ball for Kerrie to sweep home.
New girl for Donaghadee Melissa Rollo then showed why she is such a valuable asset to the club when she came on in midfield to help break up the play in the middle of the pitch. Superb work between Melissa and left winger Ruth Kennedy stopped a promising Newry attack and the Dee were immediately on the front foot with Melissa looking to play the ball forward quickly. Her snap cross in to the circle was met by Carolyn who turned and slotted home the Dee’s fourth with a first time shot. The home side’s fifth and final goal was also converted by Carolyn after a splendid through ball from Kerry S put the winger through one on one with the keeper, the ball sliding home low to the Newry keeper’s left kicker to round off the prolific scoring by the home side. While Newry can possibly feel a little hard done by not to have taken something from the game, Donaghadee were very pleased to take the three points in emphatic fashion and it should be a good confidence boost for Friday night’s game away to Instonians. Many thanks to Mike Smyth for umpiring, Will McAdam for stats and Brian for the coaching.
Junior 9: Donaghadee LHC 2nd XI 0-1 Ballymena LHC 4th XI
Last Saturday saw the Donaghadee 2nd XI enjoy their first home match of the season against current league leaders Ballymena 4th XI. Hoping to use their home advantage the team were excited but there was still a touch of pre match nerves. The match started quickly and, despite the nerves, within the first 5 minutes the Dee forward trio of Karen Fegan, Maura Hennesey and Emily Morris had already infiltrated the Ballymena circle but the Ballymena defenders were alive to the danger. Donaghadee kept the pressure on Ballymena, forcing the visitors to make a number of mistakes culminating in the Dee getting the first penalty corner of the match. Despite a well-worked set piece, they still weren’t able to break the deadlock. Ballymena weren’t giving up however and they started to push through the midfield of Deborah Gilmour, Chloe Noble, and Morgan McCollough to try and force an opening. Lining up slightly differently in defence for this match, Donaghadee hoped that the structure would prove effective and Amy Long, Teegan Greer, Alex McVeigh and captain Lisa Alexander managed to hold strong and not give Ballymena any chances, until the visitors were awarded a penalty corner just before the half time break. The Dee continued to hold firm however, with goalkeeper Tina Sterling making an excellent save to ensure the match remained goalless.