Tara secures hockey double for College girls

The Lurgan College seconds Hockey team. INLM11-204
The Lurgan College seconds Hockey team. INLM11-204

LURGAN College Seconds girls’ hockey team made it a brilliant double for the school last week when they won the McDowell Cup after beating Rainey Endowed on Saturday at Ards Leisure Centre.

Hot on the heels of the great win by the Firsts in the Senior Schools’ Cup the College team faced the holders and knew what lay ahead and they were ready for the challenge.

Rainey started off strong and was seeking to take the first goal. Lurgan’s defence played the best hockey they have all season. They marked tight and closed Rainey’s attack down. They cleared the ball and made some excellent tackles.

Carla Webster, Louise McKitterick, Rebecca McShane and captain Sherrie Percy were in the Lurgan College defence, they played very well as a unit and in the first half Rainey did not have a shot on goal in open play. Lurgan’s midfield began to link up very well. Samantha Bann and Tara McIlwaine seemed very in tune with each other as they passed around the pitch and Laura King fed some excellent balls up the pitch to the forwards. Tara was also linking well with forward Chloe Neville. The other forwards Gemma McKitterick and Stacie McCann were putting the pressure on Rainey defence. It was Tara McIlwaine who scored the goal for Lurgan with a straight strike from a well won penalty corner.

With still everything to play for Lurgan new it wasn’t over yet. They new Rainey would come out strong in the second half, determined to retain their title. Lurgan, however was also determined to win the title and so the battle continued. Lurgan played the best hockey that they have all season. Keeper Michaela McNally made her first save of the game and Rebecca McShane kept Rainey from scoring twice through penalty corners.

Lurgan also had a few more chances to increase their lead, but Laura King’s goal was denied by the Rainey keeper in a penalty corner. Forward, Chelsea McCann, who came on in the second half, also had a number of great runs but was also denied a goal by the Rainey keeper.

This is the first time they have won the McDowell Cup in 59 years.