LADIES HOCKEY: Cup heartache for Ballymoney

Jess Moore was on target for Ballymoney. Rowland White/Presseye
Jess Moore was on target for Ballymoney. Rowland White/Presseye

Ballymoney 1XI hosted Pembroke Wanders for the quarter final of the Irish Senior Cup at the Joey Dunlop centre last Saturday.

Ballymoney knew this was going to be a tough game against a team in a league above.

The match started out very evenly and the Ballymoney girls knew it was going to be fast, high tempo game from the first whistle. A long ball hit out from Pembroke defence provided their first attack up the left-hand side into Ballymoney’s circle which resulted in the first penalty corner of the match, which was cleanly struck just wide outside the left-hand post.

A few minutes later another corner was awarded to Pembroke for a foul inside the circle, but good defensive play from Bridget Cleland and goal keeper Jodie Shannon kept it 0-0.

Great inter-linking play from forwards Nikki Parke and Elle Kirgan in the final quarter created an opportunity for a shot on target but was saved by the Pembroke keeper. Great pressure from forwards Jess Moore and Jan Hamilton won Ballymoney’s first corner of the game in the 21st minute, which was unlucky not to make it 1-0.

Pembroke were awarded another penalty corner in the 34 minute of the 1st half which seen them go 1-0 up just before half time.

Ballymoney started the second half determined to make it 1-1 quickly, however a quick attack from Pembroke seen them break into Ballymoney’s circle where Ballymoney conceded another corner allowing them to go 2-0 up in the first five minutes .

Ballymoney responded well, and three minutes later were rewarded a corner after quick thinking from midfielder Rachel Minihan took a quick free. Jess Moore scored to make it 2-1, and all to play for.

Midfielder Suzie Brown played a vital role in midfield, creating great runs into the circle, but good defensive play kept Ballymoney out once again.

With a green card awarded to a Pembroke player, Ballymoney seen this as their opportunity to press high, winning a series of penalty corners, which were not converted into goals.

Pembroke attacked in numbers down the centre of the pitch and received another penalty corner in the 29th minute which was slotted into the back of the net after a very well worked penalty corner being slipped left leaving the final score 3-1 to Pembroke.

Ballymoney 3rd XI took on Belfast Harlequins 3rd XI Saturday.

During the first ten minutes Ballymoney were on top with attack after attack. Eventually their determination was rewarded with a penalty corner. However the Money girls failed to convert this opportunity.

With Ballymoney still applying pressure Sara Gardner made a great break from the half way, when reaching the circle she offloaded the ball to Heidi Johnston who calmly slotted the ball past the Quin’s goalkeeper.

Quin’s responded straightaway and had some very good opportunities; however the defence stood strong and thwarted chance after chance. Ciara McGuigan as Sweeper played an excellent game and was able to make several crucial tackles. Just before the half time whistle the Harlequin girls finally got the goal they had been pushing for.

After half time both teams game out fighting, both defences’s had to work hard to stop the other team from scoring. Catherine McFaul kept the Money girls in the game with a brilliant save close to the end of the game. Both teams fought on trying to get the win, however never team where rewarded and the game ended 1-1. A score that reflected both teams’ hard work and determination.

Fixtures Sat 4th February: 1st XI home to Dungannon at the JDLC at 2.30pm; 2nd XI away to Ards at 2.30pm; 3rd XI home to Derg Valley at the JDLC at 4pm.