Lurgan rounded off a memorable week for the club with this superb victory over top Leinster Club Hermes in this third round IHL match at the Junior High School on Saturday.
Earlier in the week a win over Queens had not only catapulted Lurgan Ladies to a top four position in the league but also ensured qualification of the Irish Hockey League again next season.
After last weeks disappointment against Greenfields Lurgan were under no illusions how difficult this match against one of the top teams in the competition was going to be.
Hermes started confidently and shot just wide from an early penalty award. Lurgan weathered the early storm and began to enjoy a little possession which helped them to settle down.
A quick break on 11 minutes saw Emma Lindsay fire a beautiful ball across the Hermes circle and Kathryn Edgar deflected it past Hermes keeper to give Lurgan the lead. Hermes were stung into response and despite winning penalty corners on 13 and 17 minutes they failed to convert either of them shooting wide from the first and the second being well defended by the Lurgan defence. Hermes pressed high in the second quarter but for their sustained pressure they had only one penalty corner on 20 minutes to show for it and again Lurgan dealt with it comfortably. This Lurgan team are learning from these high quality encounters and they kept their shape and composure to see out the first half with their one nil lead.
The third quarter was a relatively quiet period with Lurgan working hard to neutralise any Hermes attack. The coach and manager made tactical changes when required to give players time to recharge their batteries in this high tempo affair.
The work rate from the entire team was exceptional with Sarah McClure and Emma Lindsay in particular covering every inch of the pitch, putting in impressive tackles and distributing intelligently.
The fourth quarter was all action with Hermes bombing forward in search of an equaliser. Lurgan defended brilliantly with Charlene Hull and Louise Murray working tirelessly at the heart of the defence. In the final quarter Hermes were awarded 5 penalty corners some of them quiet generous in the eyes of the watching spectators, but the Lurgan defence stood strong and Naomi Costley was solid in the Lurgan goal.
With the visitors committing more to attack, the opportunities arose for Lurgan to hit them on the counter and Kathryn Edgar was hugely unlucky on a couple of occasions not to add to the Lurgan scoreline. Twice she managed to round the Hermes keeper but being pushed wide on both occasions she was left with an extremely tight angle to try and squeeze the ball home and narrowly missed out on both occasions. Three minutes before these she was also involved in a neat build up with Chloe McCann which freed the ball across circle for the fast breaking Emma Lindsay to get a strike on goal but her shot went just wide.
When the final hooter went a jubilant Lurgan celebrated this famous and well deserved victory.
Lurgan find themselves on the road for their final two matches in this years IHL series, next week they travel to Dublin to meet UCD and the following week they meet Catholic Institute in Limerick.