All square, all share...

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Craigavon Senior High School U16 hockey team shared the Northern Ireland High Schools’ Cup with Ballyclare Secondary School after the sides finished all square in the final.

The schools could not be separated even after extra time with the result being a scoreless draw.

The game was much more exciting than the result suggests.

In the first half Craigavon started the more nervous of the two sides – probably due to the fact that the majority of the squad were year 11 students and so had never found themselves in this position before.

As they settled into the game they started to play their natural passing style of hockey. Stephanie Moffitt, who has just been selected for the U15 Southern Education and Library Board Squad, controlled the game from midfield with great defensive work alongside some decisive through balls.

Brooke Watson on the left wing caused the Ballyclare defence trouble all day and thought she had put Craigavon 1-0 up after 10 minutes only to be denied by the crossbar.

Craigavon continued to press and won a number of short corners which came to no avail before half time.

The second half followed a similar vein to the first with Craigavon putting the Ballyclare defence under considerable pressure by earning numerous short corners.

The short corner routines which have proved so fruitful all year could not yield the desired outcome with the Ballyclare goalkeeper, who was voted player of the match, withstanding everything that was thrown at her.

In open play with two minutes remaining Emma Jane Cahoon (captain) passed a beautiful through ball to Ellen Stothers who squared it to Brooke Watson who put in a fantastic shot again to be denied by the keeper.

The whole squad put in a fantastic effort and were unfortunate not to come away as outright winners. The team have lots to play for as they are still in the McDowell Plate playing against Strabane and are still unbeaten in the Mid-Ulster League and Cup.

A great season so far which also looks promising for next year with so many of the squad so young.