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Portrane’s second-tier rookies relishing Challenge

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Portrane are top of the Leinster Ladies League Challenge A division. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Portrane are top of the Leinster Ladies League Challenge A division. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Portrane are top of the Leinster Ladies League Challenge A division. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

fingalindependent

RATHGAR 2

PORTRANE 3

Having only just been promoted to the Challenge A division, Portrane find themselves sitting atop the Leinster League’s second tier after a fantastic start to the season.

Matt McCann’s side are unbeaten so far and three wins and a draw see them sit a point ahead of YMCA in second spot.

Portrane travelled to the High School on Saturday afternoon where the hosts - while win-less this season - have proved tough to beat.

But Portrane showed their oppponents no mercy and went 3-0 up inside the first 20 minutes after a blistering start, with the opening goal scored by Katie Lloyd.

From a short corner the Rathgar keeper made a great stop, but Lloyd was alert to the opportunity and she smashed the rebound home.

It was a very open game of hockey, with Neasa Bisset pulling off some great stop at the other end of the pitch.

A sublime solo effort saw the north-siders double their lead as Isabel Farrell raced from one end to the other and a shot from the top of the circle hit the back of the net.

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Then early in the second quarter Portrane went 3-0 ahead from a short corner as a drag-flick was finished by Hayley Clarke capped off a great start to the game.

However inside the final 10 minutes of the half Rathgar made it a one-score gam as they won two short corners and scored from both of them.

While it was cold and wet, both teams were playing some slick hockey and the second half was very nip and tuck, with Portrane creating some further chances from short corners.

Rathgar were putting on a full press in an attempt to find a leveller and this presented Portrane with a chance to increase their lead.

Sarah Dowling broke through the lines and went one-on-one with the keeper and her well-struck shot was tipped around the post by the keeper.

Lloyd and Caoimhe McCann both went close from inside the circle the latter almost scoring with an audacious reverse flick, but again the Rathgar keeper was in fine form.

Portrane were under the cosh for the final 10 minutes but held on to see out a well-deserved win.

Their next game will be a real test as they travel to face Genesis on Saturday. The south-side team have only lost once so far this season, with two wins and a draw from their four games, and a win at St Raphaelas would send out a real statement of intent from the Fingal outfit.

Skerries, meanwhile, play twice in the next four days, with a fixture at home to Bray tonight (Wednesday) before they travel to Wesley College on Saturday to play YMCA.

Skerries have only one victory to their name this season but will fancy themselves to add to that over the next four days.

Portrane: Neasa Bisset, Rush Basson, Hayley Clarke, Sarah Dowling, Isabel Farrell, Jenny Farrell, Sarah Kean, Katie Lloyd, Caoimhe McCann, Hannah Moynihan, Nadine Patterson, Donna Small, Mieke Vandremel, Emma Walsh, Sarah Anne Kelly.

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