Ballymoney 1st XI travelled to play against Lurgan 1st XI in the Ulster Premier League last Saturday.
This was the second encounter between the two sides with Lurgan coming out on top when they played earlier in the season.
Ballymoney knew this would be a tough match with a few regular players missing from the squad. The home side who have already collated enough points to establish themselves as league winners wanted to ensure they finished the season with a win.
Ballymoney started out the better side and pressed Lurgan well forcing the home side to make a few mistakes. However it wasn’t long before Lurgan got into full stride winning themselves a series of penalty corners.
Ballymoney defended them well with Jodie Shannon pulling off some good saves however it wasn’t long before Lurgan capitalised on a poor clearance from Ballymoney defence from a penalty corner. The score line finished 1-0 at half time.
The second half saw Lurgan increase the pressure and threaten the Ballymoney defence much more than they did in the first half. The Ballymoney goal line was kept busy with Lurgan again earning themselves several penalty corners but were unable to change the score board. The Ballymoney midfield of Diane Mcneill, Susannah Brown and Laura McCurdy worked hard to link play between the defence and forward line but unfortunately could not capitalise on their opportunities.
Nikki Parke and Katherine Gawne did well up front to earn Ballymoney their own penalty corners but again could not get on the scoreboard. Lurgan had a break away attack half way through the second half and increased their tally to 2-0. The two teams continued to battle it out but Lurgan proved too dominant on the day. Their third and final goal came from a well worked penalty corner with the home side proving why they are the premier league winners. Ballymoney will look to complete their league campaign in positive fashion with a victory at home to Randalstown this Wednesday evening.
Ballymoney 2ndXI played North Down on Saturday, the leaders of their league. Due to injuries the 2nd XI had to recruit some younger players to step up to the mark and show North Down what they were made of. North down made a fast aggressive run to the D within the first 2 minutes off the whistle, catching the young Ballymoney defence off guard, resulting in a disappointing goal. However Ballymoney did not let this phase them as they went out all guns blazing, Ballymoney’s attack were closing down on North Downs defence with brilliant tackles by Emma McElwee and Elizabeth Moreland, as well as Lauren Henry making some excellent runs.
Aimee McCaw received a ball from Zoe Blair in the D and after a shot on goal was blocked with an excelled save by North Downs keeper, Aimee lifted the ball into the top right corner of the net to secure Ballymoney with a point on the score board. Unfortunately, Ballymoney then at this point took their eye off the ball and allowed a very easy consolation goal to north down before half time leaving the score at 2-1 to North Down. After an inspiring talk from Emma McElwee, injured Captain Jill Oliver and coach Diane Kirgan the ‘Money team once again with went out with fire in their bellies looking to take control over the score board. The defence of Ciara McGuigan, Emma Creelman, Jill Halliday, Elizabeth Moreland and Clare Parkhill worked tirelessly to allow no more goals to the North Down side and instead worked the ball up the pitch to meet Emma McElwee who slotted the ball into the back of the net leaving the score at 2-2 at full time. A very impressive game from all the Ballymoney girls and a great way to finalise their league this year.
Ballymoney 2ndXI would like to thank Umpire Jonny McClenghan and Coach Diane Kirgan as well as all the supporters.
UNDER 16 SUCCESS
Ballymoney Hockey Club are very excited to see two of their young stars Elle kirgan and Anna Nawn making the Irish under 16 squad who travel to Glasgow on Thursday for a three day International series. The girls were invited to Irish trials after a successful Ulster Interprovincial tournament in Dublin in October.
Having been successful in their trials both girls have been training two to three times a month at St Gerards School in Bray.Its been a tough and gruelling few months for them with School, Club and Irish training but one they have taken in their stride. They were successful in their selection from 50 players who had been invited to the trials from all over Ireland.
It’s a great honour and achievement for the girls to represent their country and everybody from Ballymoney Hockey Club would like to wish them continued success. Best of luck for the weekend ahead Elle and Anna.