Round 2 of IHL

November 8, 2018

Greenfields  1  –  1   Ards


Greenfields made the long journey to Belfast last weekend for their second round tie in the Irish Hockey League against Ulster League leaders Ards. Greenfields went into this match knowing it was going to be very tough to get a result against high flying Ards on their home turf. The Connacht side lost out to Leinster side Loreto 5-2 two weeks prior in round 1 of the Irish Hockey League and were well aware that this match was going to be as tough an outing as the previous.

 The game was played in ideal conditions save for a brisk wind.  Greenfields scored inside the first five minutes against Loreto and repeated this excellent start again on Saturday.  Alex Hunt again getting her name on the score sheet early, this time after just two minutes, to put the Connacht Champions ahead with an unstoppable shot from the left top side of the circle after great build up play through midfield players Ellie Noone and captain Neasa McGettigan. The goal shocked the home crowd to silence and set Greenfields on their way to their first points in the competition this season.

Ards were spurred into life and they remained camped in the Greenfields 25 for the next 10 minutes, winning a number of penalty corners which were ably dealt with by the Greenfields short corner defence team of Elaine Hall, Neasa McGettigan, Catherine Moore,  Kelly Dunleavy and goalkeeper Sinead Collins. The score remained one nil to Greenfields after the first quarter.

 Greenfields regrouped and settled down in the second quarter with some good attacking play again through Hunt and fellow forwards Kate Hennessy and Trish Garrett. However Ards pressure continued and after numerous penalty corners Collins' goal line was finally breached. A well worked Ards short corner was deflected into the net by Ards Janice Vaughan giving Collins and her short corner defence team no chance. Greenfields heads never dropped and Alex Hunt was clear on goal with only the keeper to beat when the half time hooter went.

The third quarter saw both sides creating attacking opportunities but Greenfields back line of Carmel Heery, Kelly Dunleavy, Mary McDonald and Catherine Moore were immense all through the match and continued to deal with all that Ards threw at them,  keeping Irish Senior International Chloe Brown at bay. Sinead Collins was having a magnificent game in goal and saved all that came her way much to the frustration of the Ulster League Leaders.

 The final quarter was a nervous time for Greenfields with Ards being awarded multiple penalty corners,  and try as they may they could not get the ball past Collins. Elaine Hall also excelled throughout this period and  bravely closed down each shot. Greenfields did have attacks throughout this period and were unlucky themselves not to get a penalty corner. Greenfields and in particular player of the match Collins held on to secure their first 2 points in the IHL this season as two points are awarded for a scored draw.

The result keeps Pool B wide open with everything to play.  Round 3 sees Greenfields on the road again to Belfast where they face Intervarsity Champions Ulster Elks. Ulster Elks defeated IHL holders UCD  8-3 in the Intervarsity final last month and  boast in their ranks Irish Captain Megan Frazer and International Midfielder Shirley McCay. Another tough outing on the road is in store for Greenfields at the end of the month.