HOCKEY: Defeat for Ballymoney Firsts in final home game

Ballymoney stopper, Jodie Shannon
Ballymoney stopper, Jodie Shannon

Easter Saturday saw Ballymoney Firsts play their final home fixture of 2017/18 season at Joey Dunlop Leisure Centre, unfortunately they slipped to a 2-0 defeat to Lurgan, who are challenging for league title.

Ballymoney started the strongest of the two sides, the visiting keeper pulled off an excellent save from Lucy Millar, who broke free down the middle from an excellent pass from Elle Kirgan into the visitors circle in the first minute.

Ballymoney dominated the opening quarter of the first half but could not break down the Lurgan defence, squandering a few short corners in quick succession.

Lurgan began to gain momentum and settle into their rhythm, winning much of the ball in midfield. On the 20th minute the home keeper, Jodie Shannon, just got enough on the ball to push it around the post to keep the score level.

Lurgan began to dominate the remainder of the first half, Elle Kirgan and Captain, Laura Nevin made two incredible clearances of the line from penalty corners.

On the stroke of half time, Lurgan broke the deadlock from a well-worked short corner.

After the break Lurgan continued their dominance growing in confidence, frustrating the home side who could only be patient in their game.

Jan Hamilton almost got the score line level on the 10th minute only to watch her shot rebound of the left hand post and out of play.

It was a game that was mostly played in midfield with neither side having many clear chances on goal. Ballymoney fought hard for the equaliser, winning a couple of short corners however the Lurgan defence stood firm denying Olivia Mullan on both occasions.

On the 21st minute Lurgan's right midfield broke free down the right, cut open the home side defence, cleverly pulled the ball back to an unmarked centre forward who perfectly executed her shot past the home keeper, Jodie Shannon.

Ballymoney pushed forward in numbers trying to gain something from the fixture, upped their intensity in the closing 10 minutes of the game, Jan Hamilton and Charlotte Campbell came close but could not steer their shots goal bound.

Ballymoney have two remaining fixtures to play away to League leaders Queens and Banbridge

Ballymoney would like to thank John McElderry for their continued sponsorship throughout the season, Coach and manager, Richard Fairman and Liz Lamont. Thanks to their large crowd of supporters.