Ballymoney 2XI vs Dromore 1XI Qualifying Plate Final
Looking to finish the season on a high, Ballymoney 2XI took on Senior 2 side Dromore 1XI in the final of the Qualifying Plate at Carrickfergus Amphitheatre on Saturday.
The Ballymoney girls had saw off stiff opposition in the run up to the final and were prepared for a very tough final against a team playing in leagues above! The preparation and effort put in by the girls in the two weeks previous shone through on the day with a fantastic team performance, a real credit to every individual member of the squad.
The girls all stepped up to the occasion, in front of a wealth of travelling supporters, from the first whistle and winning a short corner in the first two minutes.
The whole team worked collectively as a unit, passing the ball and making life difficult for the Dromore side.
The Ballymoney girls pressed forward again and won another short corner in the seventh minute. A straight strike from Lauren Mullan was cleared from the circle but hard work by the Ballymoney midfielders, ensured the ball went straight back into the circle for Karen Watson to hit the backboard, making the score 1-0 to Ballymoney.
Straight from the restart Ballymoney never gave up, constantly fighting for the ball and the defence of Becky Greer, Jill Black, Lesley Davis and Clare Black clinically dealt with any pressure by the Dromore forwards. Lauren Marshall pulled off a series of saves in the 14th minute to ensure that Dromore did not equalise.
Dromore won a penalty corner shortly after which was stopped and cleared by sweeper Becky Greer.
The midfielders, Emma Kirkpatrick, Lauren Mullan, Laura McCurdy and Alex Halliday worked tirelessly throughout, defending and attacking. Many attacking opportunities were created through the midfielders for the forwards, Nicola Sargent, Karen Watson, Jessica Moore and Cathryn Knipe.
The hard work paid off for Ballymoney in the 22nd minute when good interlinking play from the midfield going forward, allowed Jessica Moore to play the ball into the circle for Karen Watson to get her second goal of the game, making the score 2-0 to the Toon! Dromore hit back strong winning two short corners in short succession in the 29th minute, however the defence remained strong and dealt with the pressure effectively.
Ballymoney hit straight back winning a penalty corner, a right slip to Karen Watson was saved by the Dromore keeper but captain Laura McCurdy was there for the rebound to make the score 3-0 to the Ballymoney girls going into the second half.
The girls went into the second half full of determination and won two short corners within the first five minutes, the second was a narrow miss from Jessica Moore.
The girls kept up with the extremely fast pace very well and continued to fight for every ball. The Toon side won another short corner in the 12th minute, a well practised corner which was converted by Laura McCurdy making the score 4-0 to Ballymoney, unfortunately the goal was then disallowed so the score remained 3-0 to Ballymoney.
This never dampened the girls’ spirits at all and everyone continued to work hard. The Dromore side turned up the pace in the last ten minutes of the game and really started to pressurise the Ballymoney girls.
They won a series of short corners which they were unable to convert.
But in the 29th minute a controversial decision awarded Dromore a penalty stroke. Dromore converted this past keeper Danielle Stewart to make the score 3-1. The Dromore team continued to put pressure on Ballymoney for the remaining six minutes, with Ballymoney having a few more attacking opportunities.
Dromore again won penalty corners in the dying minutes, with Danielle Stewart dealing with them effectively. The final whistle blew with Ballymoney being crowned winners with a 3-1 win.
The team put in a superb effort and their hard work and determination all season paid off in a spectacular final.
The whole team would like to thank everyone for their support all season. We would like to thank everyone who travelled to watch us bring home the silverware to the town, Dromore for a very good game of hockey, the umpires, everyone who had coached us all season and to George Davis for driving the bus on Saturday.
Overall the 2XI have had a very successful season, a very young team showing a lot of potential for the future!
Team: Alex Halliday, Becky Greer, Cathryn Knipe, Clare Black (VC), Danielle Stewart, Emma Kirkpatrick, Jess Moore, Jill Black, Karen Watson, Laura McCurdy (C), Lauren Marshall, Lauren Mullan, Lesley Davis, Nicola Sargent