1/11/14 DLHC 1XI v Newry and DLHC 2XI v Ulster Elks

Senior League 4: Newry 4-3 DLHC 1XI
Donaghadee were back in league action following the first round of the Intermediate Cup with a trip to Newry last Saturday. The match started in the late slot of the day, not helped by the over-running of the previous game, so by the time Donaghadee took the first pass back the daylight was fading fast, the rain was becoming progressively heavier and the conditions were pretty horrible for both sides. Donaghadee were quick to attack however, with Captain Ruth Kennedy making one of her penetrating runs down the left. The Newry sweeper cleared wide and with a quick counter attack down the Dee’s right, the cross came in and the unmarked home forward had a simple tap in to give her side the lead.

In a slight change of formation, Donaghadee were using Carolyn Scott as the high forward, Kerrie Turtle in the supporting central role with Maura Hennessey and Ruth working the wide channels. Maura worked herself enough room to feed the ball to Carolyn who had her back to goal at the top of the circle. A quick swivel earned the forward enough room to get the shot away and she did just that: 1-1.

Despite the ever-worsening conditions, both teams were intent on attacking hockey and Newry enjoyed a good spell of possession resulting in three successive penalty corners, with Lisa Higgins doing a sterling job as first runner, charging down the attempted shots to limit the chances. Newry’s third attempt deflected off a Dee defender however, taking the ball past Dee keeper Siobhan McAdam to give the home team a goal advantage for the second time.

With moments to go until the half time whistle, the Dee midfield of Kerry Kennedy, Ali Lawther and Dee debutant Catherine Armstrong were working hard to gain some momentum and their endeavour was rewarded with a penalty corner at the other end. Carolyn got her second goal of the day with a straight strike at the top of the circle to give the Dee parity at half time.

Shortly after half time, Donaghadee were awarded another penalty corner and in a carbon copy of the one just before the turn around, Carolyn struck again to give the Dee the lead for the first time in the match. It was to be her last action of the game, as she then came off with an ankle injury. Despite the enforced switch in personnel, Donaghadee dominated play with all 10 outfield players getting involved in building the attacks; Paige Reilly, Claire Stewart and Suzie Ferguson playing the ball round the back with confidence as they tried to switch the attack from left to right.

The momentum then swung back in the home side’s favour and, with Donaghadee unable to clear their lines, the ball fell to a grateful Newry forward and the score was back to all square at 3 apiece. From the restart, Newry quickly found themselves back in the Dee circle with the same outcome: 4-3.

Despite continued dogged running by the midfield and the forwards to try to salvage a point from the game, it was in vain as the final whistle brought an end to an entertaining goal-fest in miserable conditions. Despite this defeat, Donaghadee remain second in the league with leaders Coleraine coming to the Grammar next week in what is sure to be a closely fought game. Pass back is at 1pm, followed by the 2nd XI at 2.30pm and home match drinks back in Donaghadee for all past, present and future players of DLHC.

Junior League 9: DLHC 2XI 0-3 Ulster Elks
Donaghadee 2nd XI welcomed the Ulster Elks 5th XI to Bangor Grammar for their league match last week. Right from the first whistle Ulster Elks were extremely quick off the mark to carry the ball into the Dee circle, winning themselves an early penalty corner. Despite the best attempts of full backs Tori Rollo and Lisa Alexander the ball found the back of the net putting the visitors an early goal ahead.

Despite the early setback the Dee regrouped and enjoyed much of the possession for the remainder of the first half with the midfield trio of Carmen Van Der Schyff, Jan Morrow and Deborah Gilmore feeding the ball through to allow all three forwards Karen Fegan, Jill Dennison and Emily Morris plenty of shots on target; all of which were unfortunately denied by the Elks keeper. At half time the two half backs of Amy Long and Melissa Rollo were heard to say they were enjoying playing more attacking hockey high up the pitch which is always a good sign!

Thanks to a few suggestions from coach Brian McKee at half time, the Dee side came out fighting, however the Elks were also keen to take charge of the game leading to some end to end play. The Elks worked the ball into the circle from the right; the initial strike being successfully saved but the rebound was sent towards the far side of the goal. Lisa did her best at full stretch to clear the ball but unfortunately the ball just trickled over the line. With a few positional changes for the Dee team, Melissa – now at centre midfield – fed the ball strongly towards centre forward Jill but despite her skills she wasn’t able to get the home side on the scoreboard.

Captain Deborah and Carmen worked tirelessly down the left trying to thwart the efforts of the Ulster Elks but the Elks managed to slip another one past to go 3-0 ahead. Further attacking play by the Dee led to further shots on target but the Elks keeper was on fine form and refused to let any ball into her goal. Shortly before the final whistle Karen charged down a hit out which was unfortunately lifted and the ball connected with her cheekbone resulting in a nasty injury – we wish her a speedy recovery. Donaghadee finished the game with 10 players and although they had further chances, the final score read 3-0 which perhaps did not reflect how well the team played.

Many thanks to the Dee supporters cheering the team on from the sideline and to John McCallister for umpiring. Next match for the Seconds is the second of the home double bill at the Grammar against Ballymena 4th XI, passback 2.30pm before both teams head back to the Dee for November’s home match drinks.

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