21/1/17 Donaghadee LHC 1XI 2-2 Kilkeel

Senior 3: Donaghadee LHC 1XI 2-2 Kilkeel LHC

Donaghadee LHC 1XI welcomed Senior 3 title contenders Kilkeel to BGS last Saturday, coming into this third game of 2017 having picked up valuable points thanks to two entertaining draws against Bangor and Ballynahinch.

Kilkeel were undoubtedly going to be a different ball game indeed having comprehensively beaten Donaghadee 4-0 earlier in the season but the confidence is starting to flow in the red and green sticks as the season has progressed and there was a quiet optimism about the team before pass back.

Captain Amy Long had a strong team at her disposal and, with first pass back and the sun on their backs, the Dee were quickly into their collective stride. Claire Stewart, Paige Reilly and Amy were playing some lovely hockey round the back just out of reach of the Kilkeel forwards to provide the platform for midfield to press up.

The impetus for going forward was typified by good interplay between Kerry Kennedy and Helen Hooks, scorer of the first goal, when Helen was set free from the middle of the pitch at full pelt into the Kilkeel circle with a trademark burst forward. Helen’s initial shot was saved but the forward momentum meant she met the rebound on its way out and, without breaking stride, was able to tuck the ball past the keeper to give Donaghadee the lead.

Kilkeel’s fighting spirit was in evidence moments later when they equalised with almost the next move of the game – their strong running and organised play stretching Donaghadee to work the opening from which they scored. Back came Donaghadee to win themselves a penalty corner, with Ali Lawther teeing up Carolyn Scott for the strike which flew past the helpless Kilkeel keeper. 2-1 to Donaghadee going into the break.

It might have been breathless stuff but both sides were playing some outstanding hockey to entertain the watching spectators and half time gave everyone a chance to regroup. The frenetic pace didn’t lessen much in the early stages of the second half, with Donaghadee defending high and Lisa Higgins and Ali slotting in and adding their defensive nous to give Donaghadee a period of sustained pressure, rendering Dee keeper Nicola Patton an untroubled bystander on several occasions. Indeed up front, a pinpoint pass from Carolyn put Kerrie Turtle through and moments later the roles were reversed, but neither forward overly troubled the visitors’ keeper.

Emily Morris and Ruth Kennedy both found joy down the wide channels for the Dee but again, solid defending from the visitors kept the score to 2-1 until late in the match. Much as Donaghadee won a late penalty corner last week, Kilkeel were awarded the same this week – and they duly scored with only minutes remaining. Despite valiant efforts in the dying moments, the Dee were unable to take advantage with the final score 2-2. Thanks to Brian McKee for umpiring. The 1XI are next in action away to Newry on Saturday, pass back 1pm.

The 2XI’s match away to Queen’s 5XI was postponed due to a frozen pitch so they next play on Saturday away to Coleraine.

Miss last week’s report on all the action against Ballynahinch? Read it here >>>

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