Galway Hockey Club 3rd Team:
Ella Harte, Hannah Bogue, Amy Egan, Ellie Hughes, Jodi Good, Grainne Dunne, Ellen Keaveney, Alison McHugh, Norah Folan, Ruth Brennan, Katie Browne
Coach: Mike Brennan
NUIG Hockey Club 3rd Team:
Emma Holmes, Emer O’Byrne, Anna Golden, Grace Keely, Ellen Duffy, Roisin Carr, Sarah Thompson, Kate Haliday, Sarah Healy, Kate O’Malley, Julie Mackey, Megan Delaney, Shauna Chan, Monique Rondeau
Coach: Tony Kennedy
On a bright sunny morning at the Dangan sports complex, it was the 3rd team of the NUIG Hockey Club that was triumphant over the Galway Hockey Club. The side from NUIG won 2-0 thanks to goals from Sarah Thompson and Kate O’Malley.
After the stormy weather that we have been having for the past few weeks, it was nice to have some sunshine around the ground. Galway tried to match the sunny atmosphere with a bright performance, but they did not have the necessary coordination in attack.
Too often, an attack would break down once they got to the attacking third as they couldn’t string together the required passes. NUIG took full advantage of this and played the waiting game. Their plan was simple, to wait like a hawk, patiently to pick off its prey and pounce at the right moment.
Both the goals came as a result of some lax defending from the Galway girls. At around the half hour mark, NUIG got a corner. What seemed like a routine corner eventually led to the opening goal as the Galway team let the NUIG players get possession and that let Sarah Thompson get some room for a shot and fire home past the keeper. It was almost as if the defence was caught listening to a rendition of Galway Girl.
The game wasn’t as exciting as one would have hoped for, but this proved to be beneficial to NUIG. Their focus on efficiency over flashiness proved to be the difference between both the teams today. Galway did all they could to string together a meaningful attack, but the opposing defence was dominating anything and everything that came their way.
The defenders seemed to have psychic powers as they were cutting out passing lanes left, right and centre. They could spot a pass even before a Galway had made up their mind and this helped the college team immensely in building from the back.
What prevented this score from becoming worse for Galway was the outstanding performance of keeper Ella Harte. She kept swatting away any shot that came her way. Time after time, the NUIG attackers found themselves in a position to shoot but their efforts were in vain as Harte entered Supergirl mode and flew around making vital saves.
But despite her best efforts, she could not prevent the hosts from doubling their lead in the 62nd minute. As NUIG won another penalty corner, it seemed a good chance to score another and it proved to be the case.
The penalty corner was swept in and Kate O’Malley found herself in control of the ball. Before the Galway defence could react to what was happening, she took one almighty swipe and sent the ball flying into the net. And with that, you could see the spirit being sapped from the Galway team.
On paper, this looked like an even contest but on the pitch, it was a different story. NUIG had too much in the locker and on the ground for Galway. The hosts took the chances that came their way and even when they were denied, proved to be persistent. Coach Tony Kennedy will certainly be happy with that performance.