Banbridge Academy U14 Girls’ Hockey v Ballyclare High School
Banbridge Academy Girls’ Hockey had only just got over the thrill of winning the Belfast Telegraph Schools’ Cup whenever it was the U14 team’s turn to face Ballyclare High School in the Junior Plate Final on Tuesday 12 March.
The local girls started strongly by applying a lot of pressure on the Ballyclare defence through quick passing movements from the midfield and forwards. There was a short break in play in the middle of the first half, due to injury, and after this Ballyclare turned up the tempo and started to apply pressure on the Banbridge defence. This inevitably resulted in a couple of short corners before half time, but Banbridge defended well. Ballyclare were awarded a penalty stroke on the whistle but keeper Katie McCullough saved it to keep the score nil all going into half time.
The second half started as the first half finished with short corners being awarded to Ballyclare. Unfortunately, with 10 minutes to go, Ballyclare finally scored from a well worked penalty corner. This brought the fight back into the match and Banbridge quickly replied within minutes with a goal from Holly Patterson. Despite end to end play the match was forced into penalty run-ins. Banbridge were first up and missed while Ballyclare scored their penalty. The Academy girls were on the back foot until the Ballyclare keeper gave away 2 penalty strokes which led to Ellen Jack stepping up and slotting both strokes in and then converting her own run-in to result in the girls completing an amazing come-back to win the match 5-4. A great way to finish the U14 Banbridge Academy Girls’ season.
Hopefully this win will also ensure the 1st XI are hungry to bring more silverware home as they prepare for the Kate Russell All-Ireland Championship in St Andrews Dublin, 21 -22 March.