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Girls Hockey – 1st XI reach Schools’ Cup Final


Congratulations to the 1st XI Girls hockey team who will play in the School’s Cup Final on Wednesday 4 March 2015.


Going into the semi-final we knew very little about Friends’ School Lisburn, other than they had just beaten Portadown College in the quarter-finals. A 3-1 win for them showed that they would be strong, both in attacking and defence. We had played Friends’ earlier in the season and had won this match, although with some of their key players missing, so we knew this result didn’t count for much. We had the advantage over Friends’ as we had ten days to prepare for the semi-final after our win over Dalriada, with Friends’ only having four days to prepare due to a postponed quarter-final match played only the Saturday before. This was a big advantage for us both mentally and physically. We made the most of this time, playing practice matches against Carrick Grammar and Victoria College. Multiple training sessions followed, including a trip to the Lisnagarvey pitch where the semi-final would be played.

The support at the semi-final was huge; few of our players had experienced such big crowds at a hockey match before so this was a new experience for most of us. Crowds from both Sullivan and Friends’ lined the outside of the pitch while we were warming up, and began chanting loudly.

As the game began we held possession well and had a few chances in the Friends’ circle for an early lead. Friends’ soon warmed up to the game however, and with some strong play built up in midfield they were putting dangerous pressure on us defensively. A short corner from Friends’ gave them a good chance at taking the lead but a great save by our goal keeper Jenny Beattie kept us equal. Another penalty corner came minutes later however and this time we weren’t so lucky- Friends’ took the lead in the fouteenth minute after a great strike. This lead was held for only seconds however, as Zara Malseed took our passback and ran straight for the Friends’ goal, beating numerous players and finishing her run with strong strike, scoring an incredible individual goal. This dramatic equaliser was followed by end-to-end play from both teams, both trying desperately to take the lead. A fast paced counter attack from Friends’ resulted in a two-versus-one against our goal keeper and led to a well-worked goal from Friends’, giving them a 2-1 lead late in the second half. This put us behind for the second time in this half and our morale began to drop.

At half time, words from our coaches reminded us that we had the potential and opportunity to turn this match around, and we went into the second half with our heads high. In the first ten minutes of the second half, we had most attacking play, and continuous pressure on the Friends’ defence eve

ntually won us a penalty corner. We used this opportunity well and a great strike from Zara again gave us the equaliser. Once again we were back in the game with a real chance to win. Within minutes we were dominating play again in midfield. Great team play demonstrated a series of short passes around the pitch allowing us to hold possession and eventually gave the space for a one-on-one with the goal keeper which was well finished by Zara, giving her a hat-trick and us a 3-2 lead with fifteen minutes to go.

Friends’ responded with dangerous attacking play and with pressure on our defence this led to a nail-biting finish. The final whistle marked the end of a tense match, leaving us the overjoyed winners. We now progress into the final of the Belfast Telegraph Schools Cup against Banbridge, again at Lisnagarvey on 4 March.

Caitlin Young

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