Portrush brave as they take promotion favs Raphoe to the wire in Donegal

Portrush Hockey Club pose for a photograph before their match against Raphoe at the Royal and Prior School.
Portrush Hockey Club pose for a photograph before their match against Raphoe at the Royal and Prior School.

RAPHOE 4 PORTRUSH 3

Portrush traveled to Raphoe for another senior one league game on Halloween night.

The County Antrim men were considered massive underdogs as Raphoe came into the league this season after relegation from the Mens Premier league.

As the game commenced Portrush started well, swiftly attacking the Raphoe defence and winning short corners and narrowly coming close to taking the lead

However, Raphoe soon showed their calibre and took the lead after a counter attack and a fast run through by the Raphoe striker.

Not long afterwards Raphoe won a short corner, after a high drag flick was stopped on the line, the umpires awarded Raphoe a penalty flick of which they converted to make it 2-0 at half-time.

Portrush were sure to not let Raphoe gain three easy points and within minutes of the restart, Portrush found the goal when Philip Linton supplied a pin point ball that split the Raphoe defence to John Dillon who beat the last defender to take it round the Raphoe keeper and with ease put the ball in the goal to make it 2-1.

With Portrush fighting on to get back in the game, the ports were on top form with great play throughout the squad, so it wasn’t long before John Dillon for a second time beat the Raphoe defence to find Brent Smith at the back post to score the 4th goal of the game 2-2.

As the match played on, the game was even at 2-2, and with such a mis-matched game both teams were on edge about the match, but Portrush weren’t afraid of Raphoe, and played for the win, continually putting the Raphoe defence under pressure, however Portrush just couldn’t seem to find the goal.

Eventually from another counter attack, Raphoe’s captain found the Portrush goal for a third time with a slick push into the corner.

Not long after Raphoe made it 4-2 and it seemed the game was lost. Portrush, as usual, fought on, causing nothing but trouble in the Raphoe circle, eventually winning a penalty flick which Portrush captain Neil McMaster stepped up with an immense flick to make it 4-3.

In the final stages of the game Raphoe found themselves wary of Portrush as another goal would have created a shocking score line. Portrush continued to attack and won a short corner in the last minute of the match. Unfortunately, they couldn’t find the equaliser and Raphoe took all three points.

This promising performance by Portrush, encouraged the hopes of a mid-table finish by the end of the season. Also with coach David Price proving to be a real asset for the club, helping Portrush to continue to improve and progress every week.

Portrush face Queen’s University this Saturday at 2:30pm at Quay Road

Portrush: Gordon McAlister, Neil McMaster (C), Ryan Smith, Philip Linton, Leon Smith, Aaron Kerr, Callum McKeeman, Andrew Christie, Graeme Christie, Brent Smith, John Dillon, Lewis Greene, Richard McNabb

Man of the match: John Dillon