Wednesday 24 July 2019

League horror forgotten in goal feast

Hockey, Neville Davin Cup: Bray 0 Portrane 6

Paul Byrne

The best cure for a really bad day is to have the opportunity to put in a really good performance the next time and that's exactly what happened to Portrane in the semi-final of the Neville Davin Cup against Bray at the weekend.

Over the last few seasons, as Portrane have progressed up the ladder in the Leinster League, Bray have been fierce rivals and the clubs have enjoyed a number of very close matches over the last few years.

However, on Sunday afternoon Portrane were determined to put the lethargy of Saturday's 5-1 home league defeat by Avoca behind them and to take control of the match from the outset.

With a slightly different defensive formation Portrane looked much more secure at the back and were much more careful with possession than the previous day.

Portrane consistently hit Bray on the counter-attack and by half-time they had built a 3-0 lead with two goals from Colin Neville and one from Ossain Elmiger.

The second half followed a similar pattern, which allowed Neville to complete his hat-trick and Imran to chip in with two goals to give Portrane a comfortable 6-0 victory.

Yet 24 hours earlier they had put in one of their worst performances of the season in a game which Avoca dominated from almost start to finish.

After running the two best teams in the league, Railway Union and UCD, so close in recent weeks, hopes were high for a positive result against one of the fellow strugglers in Division 1, Avoca, who Portrane had beaten earlier in the season.

Portrane went into the game with a full squad and expectations were high, but the performance that followed indicated that those expectations had taken the edge off the Portrane game and the win would somehow just happen.

Avoca on the day were just the hungrier team, with the south Dublin side starting much more sharply than Portrane.

The visitors seized the initiative almost immediately and within ten minutes two defensive mistakes from the home side had led to Avoca taking a 2-0 lead.

From then on Portrane were chasing the game and it proved to be a struggle against a tight defence. The visitors continued to dominate both territory and possession and went into half-time with a 3-0 lead.

Unfortunately for the home supporters, the second half started as the first had ended, with Avoca in complete control. What possession Portrane had they seemed to give away and within 10 minutes of the restart it was 4-0.

There was a brief respite when a rare short corner for Portrane was stopped by an Avoca foot on the line, which enabled Imran Khan to convert the resultant penalty flick to make it 4-1.

There wasn't to be any dramatic comeback, though, and with about 10 minutes to go Avoca converted again to make it 5-1.

PORTRANE (v Bray): Dan Graham, Rory McKeon, Riley Shoebridge, Brian MacMahon, Chris Neville, Cameron Shoebridge, Ossain Elmiger, Derek Ledwidge, Seamus Stone, Imran Khan, Shane Healy, Sean Graham, Colin Neville, Tom McKeon, Mukhtar Ahmad.

Fingal Independent