BALLYMONEY’S Irish Senior Cup dreams hit the buffers with this 6-2 Quarter-Final home defeat at the hands of Railway Union.
With a welcome break from Ulster league competition, Ballymoney hosted current Irish League and Cup holders Railway Union in the quarter final of the Irish Senior Cup.
It was a game that was set up to be a fierce encounter and it didn’t disappoint.
Railway boast a number of International players but Ballymoney knew they could hold their own against them, given past meetings between the two teams.
The game started at a frantic pace with both teams trying to gain the upper hand.
Ballymoney had an early shout for a short corner turned down and Railway broke up the pitch in a flowing move, throwing numbers into attack to take the lead on 3 mins.
The early lead seemed to settle the visitors as they tried to move the ball around midfield. However, Susie Sneddon, Emma Kernohan and Nikki Parke held strong and clawed Ballymoney back into the game.
On 13 mins Jessica Lynch broke clear on the left hand side and having lost her defender, her reverse stick shot went narrowly wide.
Ballymoney continued to press high and squeeze the Railway defence.
Captain Katherine Minihan pounced on a defensive mistake to find herself one v one with the keeper but the keeper stood tall and pulled off a fine save.
Railway continued to threaten on the break and were rewarded on 24 mins with a carbon copy of their first goal to double their lead.
Ballymoney rallied again and refused to let their heads drop. On 34 mins Railway won the first short corner of the game and proved very clinical in their execution, going into half time 3-0 up.
In terms of possession this was a harsh scoreline on Ballymoney, however, lessons to be learned with Railway being in the attacking circle only 5 times and coming away with 3 goals.
Ballymoney came out fighting in the second half and were rewarded only 4 mins in when Jessica Lynch broke down the right wing and found Katherine Minihan. Katherine sent a pin point cross to the far post which was met by a diving Nikki Parke to make the score 3-1.
Railway regained their 3 goal lead on 10 mins when a hopeful long ball into the circle caught many off guard and was deflected into the net.
Again, Ballymoney dug deep and continued to cause the visitors a few headaches.
On 15 mins Susie Sneddon broke through 2 challenges in midfield and a neat slip to Nikki Parke in the circle pulled a goal back for Ballymoney making it 4-2.
Ballymoney had chances to get a 3rd winning 2 corners in close succession but the visitors defence held strong.
Railway knocked the stuffing out of Ballymoney with a 5th goal on 20 mins after a goal mouth scramble.
A well rehearsed short corner routine saw Railway grab their 6th goal on 30 mins and it was game over.
Ballymoney gave a good account of themselves but ultimately the numbers Railway threw into attack along with clinical finishing, proved too much for the home side.
Ballymoney now switch their focus back to Premier league games for the month of February and then straight into Irish Hockey League fixtures for the month of March.
* Ballymoney Hockey Club send their congratulations to 1stXI stalwart Bridget Cleland and her husband James on the safe arrival of Jessie Sofia Cleland, and look forward to seeing Bridget back at training soon!
* Ballymoney Hockey Club received bitter sweet news when current 1stXI player Julie Nelson revealed she has re-signed for Glasgow City FC for the incoming season.
Admittedly Julie’s first love is football and she won the League and Cup double with Glasgow City last season, and reached the last 16 of the Champions League.
Everyone wishes Julie well when she heads back to Glasgow at the end of February, and the Ballymoney door is always open for Julie to return to the hockey pitch.