Hockey: Dungannon’s first senior season ends with a loss to North Down

Jayne Wilson, who was one of Dungannon's best on Saturday in Comber
Jayne Wilson, who was one of Dungannon's best on Saturday in Comber

Dungannon ladies ended their season with a trip to Comber. With the top three places settled, the squad travelled with nothing but pride to play for.

Dungannon settled quickly and built pressure over the first 10 minutes and as has been a common trend in a lot of matchs failed to turn possession and half chances into goals.

When North Down threatened, the vision of Lisa Millar regularly shone as on three occasions her ability to read a game snuffed out the challenge offered by their hosts.

However the fluid nature Dungannon started with, began to wear off as repeated stick tackles from their hosts repeatedly broke up Dungannons game .

With 20 minutes gone Dungannon were disrupted when Hanna Smyth was adjudged to have committed a foul serious of a green card offence , which appeared harsh when you consider that she had been fouled on virtually even occasion she had possession .

The following five minutes , North Down played their best hockey but despite the numerical advantage they had the breakthrough didn’t materialise.

Dungannon reasserted control with impressive runs from Karen Elliott and Samantha Kelly repeatedly stretching North Down.

Chances started to flow but luck would have it that, today was not to be Dungannon’s as even when the opportunity to have a clear run through on goal , a heavy touch resulted in the danger being cleared.

Frustrations continued when a heavy fall saw Georgina mulligan being replaced as half time approached.

Halftime came with the game finely balanced at 0-0; however, the large support which had travelled to Comber were increasingly mystified by many of the officials decisions.

The second half commenced with Dungannon on the offensive with Hannah Smyth and Jayne Wilson taking the attack to the North Down Ladies .

However, despite the mounting pressure and awarding of a number of short corners the inability to be clinical in front of goal always threatened to punish the girls .

With 15 minutes a series of quick frees mysteriously awarded to North Down saw them advance up the pitch , and when they were gifted a penalty corner by the umpire the spurned chances by Dungannon cost dearly as North Down took the lead.

This spurred Dungannon on and again began to mount sustained pressure on the North Down goal.

Excellent play from Karen Elliott and Jayne Wilson set up chances in the North Down area; however, the best of these went narrowly wide at the back post.

With time running out Dungannon pushed hard for the equaliser and, though, North Down broke at pace on several occasions the last 10 minutes saw Dungannon encamped in the North Down half.

However as the final whistle sounded it was a flat end to what has been a superb season in Senior One.

Dungannon have more than held their own in their first ca,paign at this level and can take many positives from it and have a lot of positives to build upon.

Team Vicky Kerr, Lynsey Purdy, Abigail Edwards, Georgina Mulligan, Lisa Millar, Samantha Kelly, Lynda Elliott, Hannah Smyth, Karen Elliott, Stacey Lee, Andriea McKay, Emma McMullan, Jill Elliott, Jayne Wilson, Sarah Winslow

Dungannon 3s fixture on Saturday was a definite ‘game of two halves’ as, frustratingly, the home side began well in spreading the ball around with sharp precision and purpose.

They took a well deserved lead through excellent work on the right with Elaine Junk providing a perfect pass for Jenna Rodgers to slot through the keepers legs.

A scrappy second half ensued with Service taking more control of the game and equalising through an extremely well-taken goal.

A very solid display at the back by Kathy Needham and Lesley Ann Hetherington secured the draw.

Thanks to David Reid for umpiring.

Dungannon: M.Wilson, LA Hetherington[potm], C.Swaffield, K.Needham, R.Bettany, S.Stafford, N.Cardwell[c], E.Junk, J.Rodgers, L.Parks, M.Davidson, D.McClements.