Denman Ulster Shield
Lurgan 0 Ballymoney 0
Lurgan’s early season good form continued with this draw, but they were disappointed not to come away with a win in this mid-week Denman Ulster Shield match against Ballymoney at the Lurgan Junior High School last Wednesday night.
The Lurgan defence is looking very solid with the back line of Charlene Hull, Louise Murray, Emma Quinn and new signing Phoebe Preston slotting in well in front of keeper Naomi Costley.
Alex Hurst is relishing her new midfield role and her tackling and distribution alongside Carly Johnston was evident in the early exchanges as Lurgan gradually got on top and imposed themselves on a very competitive side.
It took Lurgan 22 minutes to win their first penalty corner after good link up play between Sarah McClure, Kerrie Burns and Gemma McBride. Another penalty corner three minutes later following superb stick work from Sarah McClure, who has made a terrific start to the new season, resulted in the same player getting in a strike at the end of a switch move but the ball flew just wide.
Ballymoney tried to respond but Lurgan had taken control in midfield and a great run by Kerrie Burns deep into the circle almost produced a goal but her clever ball across the circle just evaded the stick of the in rushing Pippa Best.
The second half continued in the same vein as the first and a beautiful turn and feed from Sarah McClure into the Money circle after five minutes found Jo Wilson on a great run but her unselfish ball across goal couldn’t find a Lurgan stick. Jo had a great chance to give Lurgan the lead after a good delivery by Alex Hurst but her shot was pulled well wide.
Three minutes later Ballymoney rode their luck as Charlene Hull, who had pushed much further forward, rattled a great shot against the post and it was scrambled clear off the line as it spun across the goal.
Lurgan shook their heads in disbelief as another Hull shot from another penalty corner was deflected off a post by a stick. They were denied again with eight minutes to go when a Kathryn Edgar shot was saved by the keeper.
A penalty award for Lurgan failed to produce anything as an over-elaborate switch move petered out.
Lurgan’s hearts were in their mouths as Ballymoney were awarded a penalty corner in the final minute but the Lurgan defence stood strong and denied the visitors any chance of a late winner.