IN the bright Spring sunshine Sacred Heart School Tullamore bowed out of the Leinster Schoolgirls Hockey competition last Wednesday when they succumbed to Rathdown at the Harriers.
The game started at a blistering pace with Rathdown immediately asking questions of the Tullamore defence. The early pressure paid off for Rathdown as they gained three short corners in quick succession.
Goalie Niamh Doheny had her defenders well set up and the corners were bravely defended. The home side were under constant pressure but the backline of Caoilfionn O’Donovan, Colleen Connolly, Aillis Redmond and Emily Hehir held firm and continued to thwart the Rathdown forwards.
As the game progressed the Sacred Heart players began to get a foothold in the game and the mid-field trio of Ciara Molloy, Aideen Mahon and Jessie Somers began to show what they could do with some intricate passing movements. Kate O’Brien made some excellent runs in behind the Rathdown defence and with a bit of luck might have made Rathdown pay for their inability to convert possession into goals.
But the best chance of the half for Tullamore came as right wing Aoife Hehir rounded her player and sent the ball across the circle where Aideen Naughton’s snap shot was stopped by the goalie. Kate came in on the rebound, but much to the frustration of the home support, the goalie got her pad to the ball and deflected it to safety over the end line.
The second half saw the ball move from end to end with both teams experiencing short periods of superiority. And so it came as a big blow when the visitors scrambled the ball into the Tullamore goal with just ten minutes left on the clock.
The Sacred Heart players showed great resolve and determination and immediately went looking for the equaliser. But good attacking moves initiated by Rachel Byrne, Jane Wyer and Ciara Izuchukwu failed to penetrate the Rathdown defence and the game finished one nil to the visitors.
It was the type of game where one felt that if Tullamore could have managed to get back on level terms, then they may have gained the upper hand and gone on to win. But it wasn’t to be and the disappointment for players and supporters at the end was palpable.
SHS TULLAMORE: Niamh Doheny, Aillis Redmond (captain), Colleen Connolly, Caoilfionn O’Donovan, Ciara Molloy, Aideen Mahon, Jessie Somers, Aoife Hehir, Kate O’Brien, Aideen Mahon, Rachel Byrne, Jane Wyer, Ciara Izuchukwu, Eimear Gallagher.