14/11/15 Dromore 1-1 Donaghadee LHC 1XI and NICS 4XI 1-1 Donaghadee LHC 2XI

Intermediate Cup Rd 1: Dromore 3XI 1-1 Donaghadee LHC (Dromore win 4-3 on penalty flicks)
With Dromore’s home pitch an early victim of the weekend’s torrential rain, the first round tie of the Intermediate Cup for Donaghadee Ladies Hockey Club’s 1XI was switched to an equally rain sodden, but thankfully playable, pitch in Lisburn. Despite the horrible conditions, the girls in red were out of the blocks in a flash, with a couple of very good early chances just going begging.

Despite Donaghadee missing four regular First teamers, much of the pressure came from the Senior 3 side but the young Dromore team held firm making for an entertaining and end to end game for the few hardy souls watching on the sideline. Sarah Harkness broke the deadlock with her first competitive goal for the Dee with a well-placed shot across the home keeper which snuck just inside the far post to give Donaghadee the lead midway through the first half.

Dromore equalised just before half time in one of their forays foward – no less than they deserved in this even contest. The second half saw much of the same; both teams trying hard to play flowing hockey in atrocious conditions but neither was able to add to the scoreline.

With the full time whistle bringing proceedings to a soggy close, the match went to flicks and again, there was nothing to choose between the teams; successful conversions from Maura, Ruth and Claire were cancelled out by 3 Dromore strikes, meaning the tie would be decided by sudden death. The Dromore striker took and scored her flick and the Dromore keeper then won the match for her side with the last save of the afternoon. Thank you to Dromore for providing two umpires for the match and good luck to their team in the next round.

The Firsts are back to league action away to Newry on Saturday.

Minor Cup Rd 1: NICS 4XI 1-1 Donaghadee LHC 2XI (2-1 AET)
Donaghadee 2XI travelled to Stormont last Saturday to play the first round of the Minor Cup against the same opponents from the previous week albeit in a league fixture then. Donaghadee went into the game in positive spirits having won that encounter but knew they had no room to be complacent.

The match took place in rather dismal conditions however Donaghadee did not let the rain dampen their spirits and right from the whistle applied pressure on the NICS defence. Within the first 10 minutes Angela Parker made her presence felt by picking up a loose ball in the Donaghadee half and calmly dribbling the ball all the way into the NICS circle before beating the keeper to give the Dee an early lead. The home side were not ready to let their opponents beat them two weeks in succession however so the match became hotly contested, leading to some action packed play. The defensive trio of Lisa Alexander, Debbie Findlater and Tori Rollo kept many of the NICS attacks at bay and on the odd occasion when their line was broken keeper Janice McVeigh was quick to react and made several successful saves.

Donaghadee had many chances to add to their scoreline during the game with shots at goal coming from all angles thanks to Elle Fegan, Vickie Pollock, Caitland Crockett and Karen Fegan with Emily Morris even managing to hit the post on one occasion. Tasha Paxton made a great run down the centre of the pitch to find her resulting shot saved by the NICS keeper. As always Melissa Rollo and Nikki Robinson worked well together in midfield breaking down the NICS play.

NICS won themselves a penalty corner and through a well rehearsed routine managed to even the match up in the second half.  Donaghadee kept up the determination and fight to end of the full time but couldn’t manage to get themselves in front again. The whistle blew at 1-1 and, as the game was a cup match, extra time of 5 minutes each way was required. Although both sides were visibly tired due to the high intensity play during the match, Donaghadee dug deep to keep the attacks going. With two minutes remaining it looked like the match was going to penalty flicks to determine a result, but high forward Vickie picked up the ball and scored, resulting in Donaghadee progressing to the second round of the Minor Cup.

Many thanks to Mike Smyth for umpiring. Next match for Donaghadee 2XI is against Instonians 2XI on Friday night at Bangor Grammar.

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