Ballymena Hockey Club round-up: Men put Saintfield to sword again
HAVING already beaten Saintfield 9-0 earlier in the season, Ballymena defeated the same opponents 6-1 in Saturday’s Irish Challenge Trophy quarter-final.
Ballymena got off to a somewhat sluggish start due, in part, to a lack of competition over the last few weeks courtesy of our inclement weather.
Nonetheless a short time into the match the hosts were soon firing on all cylinders which gave Mark Allison the opportunity to pick out Patrick McKeown, with pin point accuracy. Mckeown in turn opened the scoring with a simple deflection past the unsuspecting keeper.
Minutes later Ballymena doubled their advantage with a cool finish on the reverse side from Andy McKelvey. The hosts were on a roll now and McKeown doubled his tally with a trade mark drag flick, to afford Ballymena a 3-0 advantage at half time.
In the second half, Alex McKeown rattled off two fine goals in quick succession despite the best efforts of the Saintfield keeper.
A momentary lapse in concentration by the Ballymena defence did afford the visitors an opportunity at goal which they took but Ballymena weren’t finished and Patrick McKeown duly completed his hat trick with another well placed drag flick.
Ballymena: Eddie Hampton, Chris Hogg (capt), Andrew Bell, David McDonald, Andrew Shields, Andrew Crooks, Victor Orr, Patrick McKeown, Clive Fulton, Alex McKeown, Tim Lowry, Mark Allison, Andrew McKelvey.
Lisnagarvey VI 1, Ballymena II 1: Ballymena Men’s 2nd XI traveled to Lisnagarvey on Saturday aiming to at least share the points to secure their tenure in Junior 5.
It was Ballymena then who had the best chance in the opening minutes with a brilliant back post drive although again, as was the case in the previous tie, the visitors fell foul of their early success when they failed to clear the ball from the Garvey counter.
The resulting scuffle afforded a rogue forward the opportunity to beat James Birrell at the back post with an easy tap in! Although the visitor’s spirits were somewhat deflated by the early goal they dug deep, regrouped and set about thwarting any further designs which Garvey might had had on their goal.
As the second half opened Ballymena sensed that they were still in with a chance and cranked up the tempo.
Having survived a Garvey onslaught, with only five minutes to go, a long defensive clearance found Ken Murphy at the 23 who opted to square the ball to O’Neill in the circle. O’Neill made no mistake and rattled the ball past the Garvey keeper at the far post for a deserved equaliser.
Seconds: James Birrell(GK), Alister Hanna(Capt), Dave Bradley, Steven Healy,Ken Murphy, Al Donald, Mark Monteith, Phil Moody, Steven Healy, Matt O’Neill, Paul McDowell.
Ballymena 1, Ballyclare 1: Ballymena were all too aware that this encounter with Ballyclare would be tough if previous tussles were anything to go by.
The visitors had a slight edge in the early exchanges and they broke the deadlock from another penalty corner.
Towards the end of the half Ballymena managed to break free and were unlucky not to restore parity from a penalty corner when a Susanne Morrison shot and the resulting deflection by Becky Reynolds missed the goal by a whisker.
Ballymena stuck to their task in the second half and were rewarded in the closing stages.
They won a penalty corner and a well-rehearsed set piece involving Susanne Morrison and Clare Gillespie slipped the ball to Becky Reynolds who slotted it home to restore parity for the hosts.
Ballymena: Emma Leslie,Sara Allen, Grace McBurney, Susanne Morrison, Catherine McCracken, Jessica Duncan, Becky Reynolds, Clare Gillespie, Aimee Logan, Natalie McMullan, Kirsten Young, Sharon Reid, Jenny Sutherland, Player of the match Sara Allen.
Belfast Harlequins 1, Ballymena II 2: Ballymena went in front after Lauren Kennedy seized the initiative with an inspirational and steely strike at goal.
While Kennedy’s effort was saved by the Quin’s keeper, Lorna Murphy was ideally placed to pick up the rebound and slot it through keeper’s legs.
Aimee Logan’s intelligent and well-timed runs were causing the Quin’s defence no end of problems and her efforts were soon to reap reward when she partnered Lauren Kennedy to break through the host’s defence yet again. The resulting scuffle in front of goal presented an opportunity for Lorna Murphy to tap in for a 2-0 lead going into half time.
Quins did manage to engineer a few opportunities for themselves in the second period and won a penalty corner half way through the period and while nothing came of this attempt a quickly taken free a short time later caught Ballymena off guard and resulted in Quin’s clawing one back, but Ballymena were able to hold on for victory.
Seconds: Sarah Cundell, Laura Logan, Kirsty McMaster, Ashleigh harbison, Nicola Greer, Sarah Mcbride, Lauren Kennedy, Aimee Logan, Lorna murphy, Stephanie storey Lynsey McClintock, Joanna bailey, Joanne McKay.
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Weather for Ballymena
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 17 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 4 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 21 mph
Wind direction: North west