The first Saturday of 2014 saw both Donaghadee LHC teams in action with the 1st XI playing Holywood at Bangor Sportsplex and the 2nd XI welcoming Banbridge to Bangor Grammar School.
Holywood are currently top of Senior 4, a spot they have occupied for much of the season so far, and with Donaghadee only having picked up a few wins this campaign, it was always going to be a tough match, made no easier by the absence of usual left wing Ruth Kennedy and last season’s top goalscorer Kerrie Turtle, missing through illness and holiday respectively. A late call up for 2nds winger Emily Morris helped plug the gaps however, with Laura Boyle also stepping in to help out.
Holywood started the match the brighter of the teams but the Dee defence of Suzie Ferguson, Claire Stewart and Lisa Higgins withstood the pressure for a good fifteen minutes and prevented Holywood from any meaningful chances. It took an unstoppable shot from a Holywood midfielder which hit the top right hand corner of Siobhan McAdam’s goal for the home team to break the deadlock. Holywood continued with their pressure until a swift break down the left by Laura and Emily found forward Carolyn Scott high and wide. She cut in, leaving several home defenders in her wake, and unleashed her own unstoppable shot from the edge of the circle which ricocheted off the inside of the far side board to make it 1-1. Despite Holywood scoring again just before half time, the Dee still felt that they had a chance to take something from the game, with midfielders Leona Wells, Kerry Savage, Katie Donnelly and Ali Lawther matching the league leaders in the middle third of the pitch.
Hannah McAdam came on up front to try and add fresh legs to the Donaghadee attack in the second half but much of the remaining action kept the Dee’s defence busy, with Donaghadee’s forwards not really getting many more chances to trouble the Holywood keeper. The home side took advantage of two scrappy goals which bobbled over the Dee line to seal their victory as they continue in their pursuit of promotion while the Dee were happy to put this one to bed and look forward to their next league match away to Newry on 18th January.Junior League : Donaghadee LHC 2nd XI 1-5 Banbridge
Donaghadee LHC 2nd XI welcomed Banbridge 4’s to Bangor Grammar for their first league fixture after the Christmas break with high hopes of starting the new year with victory. The team started strongly with the first 15 minutes of play all in the Banbridge half and the Dee continually keeping the oppositions keeper on her toes with several well timed saves. Unfortunately though their hard work was not rewarded by a goal. Despite the determined effort from Donaghadee, Banbridge made their break and were first on the score sheet. During the Dee’s next attack in reponse, centre forward Maura Hennessey was injured and had to leave the pitch. Without the luxury of substitutes Donaghadee were down to 10 players and Banbridge took full advantage, scoring three goals in three minutes.
With all players back on the pitch for the second half Donaghadee once again started strongly, pushing Banbridge back into their own half. With a lot of movement between the midfield and forwards the Dee definitely felt there was a goal coming their way, but once again Banbridge made a break putting the Dee defence under pressure. Tina Sterling, once again, kept her composure and showed some very impressive goalkeeping. Despite her determination and what started as an excellent save, Banbridge found the rebound and scored their next. Donaghadee came back though with a great break in the dying minutes of the match. Maura and right wing Teegan Greer infiltrated the Banbridge circle and after Maura found herself right in on the goalkeeper, Teegan took the loose ball calmly slotted it in the back of the goal.
At the final whistle the team were frustrated with the result as their performance certainly was not reflected in the score line, but they found a lot of positives to take out of the match. With excellent play from everyone, the team are looking forward to their next league fixture away to Ballymena on Saturday 11 January. Let’s hope they can take the positivity and bring home 3 points. Special thank you goes to Will McAdam for umpiring and of course our supporters.