There was more cup disappointment for Raphoe 1st XI Ladies at the weekend, when they came out at the wrong side of a penalty shoot-out in the Quarter-Final of the Irish Hockey Trophy.
Raphoe 3 NUIG 3
NUIG won 3-1 on penalties
Raphoe entered the game as underdogs, when they hosted NUIG at the Royal and Prior School on Saturday, and while they will be pleased to have taken the game to penalty run-ins, the “so near, but so far” feeling will stay with the players for some time to come.
It was the Donegal side that got the better start to the game. Within in the first two minutes they had won a short corner for an infringement inside the NUIG circle. In recent games, Raphoe’s short corners had been letting them down, but their first corner of this game, was almost perfection and was finished off sweetly by Victoria Wray.
Having gone 1-0 up so quickly, Raphoe’s confidence was high and they were playing fast moving hockey. Lyndsey Tinney was working hard in the centre of midfield to break down play and her persistent hassling was beneficial to winning the ball and getting it up to the Raphoe forward line.
However, the lead was short-lived for Raphoe, when NUIG capitalised on Raphoe’s high press not being as structured as it should have been at times.
From a sideline ball, a NUIG defender found an opening through to one of her midfielders. The ball was collected and moved along swiftly to an unmarked forward, who only had to round Humphey in Raphoe’s goal to bring the visitors back in to the game.
The first half played out with both sides having opportunities to take the lead. Katy Love and Zara Tinney were unable to create goals from chances that fell their way, and NUIG were not able to break down a strong Raphoe defence, who kept them at bay following a number of short corners.
The second half started off just how the first had ended, both teams battling hard and no-one willing to give an inch.
Raphoe managed to take the lead again, when Victoria Wray was in the right place at the right time, to convert another short corner for her team. Sabrina Barnett’s shot was saved by the keeper, but the keeper could do nothing about Wray’s quick reaction, as she collected the rebound ball and rammed it off the backboard.
NUIG were quick to respond again, and were straight back with the pressure on Raphoe again. Raphoe’s defence had being doing well at keeping a tight rein on the fast paced and interchanging NUIG forward line, but there was little they could do stop the Galway sides second goal.
A high speed ball was whizzed in to the Raphoe circle from just inside the 25 yard line. One of the NUIG players came sprinting across the D, and with an outreached stretch she deflected the ball in to the Raphoe net.
Arlyne Kilpatrick was instrumental in building attacks down the right, whereas, Lisa Patterson was doing the same on the left for Raphoe.
Katy Love, Leanne Patterson, Zara Tinney and Wendy Patterson were making great runs in to the NUIG circle but were never able to get any clean shots at goal.
NUIG took the lead for the first time in the game with about 10 minutes left to play. Raphoe had been doing extremely well at defending any short corners they had conceded until this point of the game.
From the top of the D, a superb disguise pass seen the ball being sent towards the back post, where a NUIG player had timed her run to a tee and she deflected the ball high into the Raphoe net.
With the game now closing out, Raphoe were under serious pressure again, if they wanted to progress to the semi-final.
They started to throw everything at NUIG, driving forward in numbers, but still not being able to break down the NUIG defence from play.
Young Jasmine Tinney had stepped in to cover centre mid-field for a few minutes. She was finding some lovely passes across the pitch and in to the circle, but again, no-one was able to get that vital shot away.
The pressure inside the NUIG 25 yard line eventually paid off, when Raphoe won another short corner with only a few minutes left on the clock.
This time it was Zara Tinney who converted for Raphoe. Zara remained composed at the top of the D and struck the ball, low and hard in to the left corner of the goal – giving her team a life-line again!
The clock ticked down quickly from here and the game ended 3-3, with the semi-final spot having to be decided on by the dreaded penalty run-ins.
Unfortunately for Raphoe, it was the NUIG goalkeeper who was the star of the show in the penalty run-ins. With her quick footwork and reactions, she stopped 3 out of 4 run-ins from Raphoe, which saw Victoria Wray being the only Raphoe player to score. NUIG successfully converted 3 of their run-ins, giving them the much desired semi-final spot to the Galway girls.
Although defeated, Raphoe can take heart that they were able to step up their performance against an IHL 2 team, and the team will be hoping that they can continue this form in their remaining Senior 1 league games.
Team: Heather Humphrey, Arlyne Kilparick, Sabrina Barnett (Captain), Victoria Wray, Janice Nelson, Zara Tinney, Lyndsey Tinney, Wendy Patterson, Lisa Patterson, Leanne Patterson, Lisa Smyth, Katy Love, Julie Wilson, Sarah McErlean, Jasmine Tinney, Rebecca Wauchope, Amy Wauchope and Catherine Mahaffey