Senior 3: Limavady 4-1 Donaghadee LHC 1XI
The howling gale of the previous night might have died down minimally for Donaghadee’s two home matches on Saturday but the remnants of Storm Arwen were still very much making themselves felt as the 1XI took to the pitch at BGS in the 1 o’clock slot: the biting wind sweeping the length of the pitch while also somehow swirling round, the occasional hail shower peppering bare skin and keeping hands frozen on sticks.
Despite the inclement weather it was a good start from Donaghadee with the home side creating good chances: both Carolyn Scott and Natasha Moore had opportunities to give the Dee an early lead but the resulting shots were just off target. The Dee continued to dominate with Kerry Kennedy operating in the middle of the pitch and providing the through balls for the forwards to latch on to.
Kerrie Turtle made a number of tireless runs in the high forward position and she came within inches of connecting with the superb attacking balls on a couple of occasions but the pace was just too strong for her to make good contact and the chances went unconverted.
With Lauren Mann and Row Moore switching on and off on the right of midfield, the protection provided to the Dee defence meant it was midway through the first quarter before Limavady made any real inroads into Donaghadee’s final quarter but when they did, Dee keeper Nicola Patton was on hand to make a smart save, only for the rebound to be met by a fellow forward following up. 1-0 to Limavady.
The second quarter started in much the same vein with Donaghadee dominating the play in the early exchanges only for Limavady to mount a counter attack down their right with the resulting cross leaving a tap in for the centre forward and a 2 goal advantage going into the break.
The second half saw Limavady getting into their stride and Donaghadee’s defence were called on as the pressure mounted. There were plenty of cool heads with some excellent interceptions: Sarah Hooks pulled the strings in the heart of the defence, marshalling her team-mates well to cut out the threats. Rachel McClatchey – this week’s Star Player – also had a stormer on the right of Donaghadee’s defence, while Lisa Higgins used every inch of her experience on the left to prevent the threats coming from that side.
Limavady scored their third when a break from midfield caused confusion in the Dee ranks and allowed the visitors to consolidate their lead with a third goal, but Donaghadee were by no means out of it. Super work from Emily Morris in midfield put the Dee on the front foot, with Helen bursting through into the attacking circle. The resulting scramble saw Limavady win the free out and that danger passed.
Donaghadee then won a penalty corner and from the resulting shot one a second thanks to injector Paige Reilly finding a Limavady foot as she tried to get on the end of a rebound from the initial shot. The Dee then had the ball in the back of the Limavady net but the shot was adjudged to have been too high and was therefore chalked off.
Shortly into the final quarter Limavady found themselves in a similar situation but after a long discussion by the umpires the goal was deemed legal, leaving the Dee ranks perplexed by the decision. Unbowed on they carried, heaping sustained pressure on to the visitors: a penalty corner to the Dee had the Limavady keeper beaten but a desperate late lunge cleared the ball from the line; a further penalty corner was saved by the Limavady keeper; and finally a drive upfield from defence from Sarah created a chance for Donaghadee, with Natasha getting some redemption for Donaghadee with a lofted finish from a tight angle to give Donaghadee a more than deserved consolation goal.
Final score 4-1 to Limavady, with Star Player going to Rachel McClatchey and thanks to Neil Russell for umpiring. The Firsts are next in action when they face a Friday night trip to Larne for the second round of the Intermediate Cup, pass back at Larne Grammar 7.45pm.
Junior League 8: DLHC 2XI 1-2 North Down
With the conditions not improving as the afternoon wore on, the two teams opted to play shortened quarters and North Down got proceedings underway.
They enjoyed some good early possession but they found Donaghadee keeper Siobhan McAdam in inspired form – a double save followed by a further save a couple of minutes later thwarted the visitors as they searched for the opening goal.
Settling into the game Donaghadee then enjoyed some good attacking play but despite efforts to get the ball in from both wings, there were no shots to trouble the North Down keeper.
North Down hit Donaghadee with a strong counterattack down the right; Siobhan made a good initial save but North Down were the quicker to react and they pounced on the rebound to take the lead.
It took the Dee less than five minutes to draw level however, with Donaghadee winning the ball well in midfield with Erin Hamilton popping up on the left of the attacking circle to score the equaliser.
In what then became a delicately balanced and well-fought context, both teams had chances and both defences played well to keep the score level. North Down used their width well and it was their young right winger who made a lot of ground and created the space to get a blistering shot away from a tight angle.
It was a worthy match winner but on balance of play, Donaghadee were a little unlucky not to have taken a point from a heart-warming performance on a freezing day.
Congratulations to Siobhan and Erin for being voted joint Star Players, with thanks to Kerry Kennedy for umpiring. The 2XI are next in action at home on Saturday in the rearranged fixtue against Banbridge, pass back 1pm.
There are still some tickets available if you would like to purchase to help with this year’s fundraiser. Please see any of the committee to buy yours.