Monday 11 December 2017

Gorey ladies make pleasing start to hockey season

GOREY FIRSTS, minus a number of first team players, travelled to Kilkenny to play Carlow in the second round of league matches and lost 2-1. A hardfought first-half saw both teams separated by a scrappy opportunistic goal from Carlow.

Gorey would have felt hard done by as, apart from the first ten minutes, they dominated the half and only for a spectacular save from the Carlow goalkeeper they would have been at least level at half-time.

The second-half was an exciting endto-end game and the second goal for Carlow was a well-taken deflected finish from a short corner which was well worth the admission fee.

Gorey heads never dropped and they fought on and created a number of chances in the remainder of the match. Marie Buttle reduced the deficit with a deflected shot from a short corner late on but, because of some strong defensive play from Carlow, Gorey were unable to find the equaliser that their play deserved.

The Gorey team as a whole played very well but in particular the performances of Gillian Bailey in defence and their three hard-working midfielders, Sonya, Marie and Megan, cannot be overlooked.

Gorey seconds in their debut season have performed admirably in Division 2 over the last few weeks. They took on Portlaoise, last year's league runnersup and cup winners, in a potentially very difficult encounter and went down 3-0.

The underdogs took it to Portlaoise in an exciting first-half and made it very difficult for the opposition at times. Portlaoise were very fluid in their passing but still found it difficult to break down a plucky, brave Gorey defence led by the ever-dependable Bridget Frih.

It was scoreless at the break, a fair end to a very good first-half. The second-half carried on the same as the first with Portlaoise looking to break down the visitors' defence and Gorey counter-attacking at every opportunity.

Eventually Portaloise made a breakthrough and took the lead late in the second-half.

Gorey pushed on for an equaliser late in the game and through a combination of tired legs and pure Portlaoise pressure the home team scored from a short corner and a very well-taken individual effort from flying midfielder Ailbhe Booth.

The result was no more than Portlaoise deserved but Gorey will be proud of their efforts. The Gorey defenders were excellent throughout and there were a number of good performances, especially from the latest acquisitions from last year's Juniors.

Gorey have been working hard on developing strong youth teams over the last few seasons and at last there are some very exciting prospects after stepping up to the Senior squads. We look forward to a successful few years for the Gorey ladies' hockey club.

Gorey 0, Wexford 2: Gorey, who were only promoted this season, faced up against the much-fancied league leaders and league champions of 2011, Wexford, on Sunday last.

The first-half was a tough encounter with a game of cat and mouse between the two teams.

Wexford pushed hard but were unable to break down the tenacious, resilient Gorey defence. The game sprung to life early on with Wexford getting short corner after short corner, but no matter what they did they were unable to break down a very strong Gorey defence.

If the first-half was good, it paled in comparison to match up to the secondhalf. Gorey came out all guns blazing and pulled the Wexford defence all over the pitch. In open play Wexford were forced to break down the counterattacking threat of Marie Buttle, Megan Roark-Shannon and the ever-influential Alex Weston.

This led to Wexford conceding a number of short corners and only for some good goalkeeping from the Wexford number one, Gorey would have been at least a goal ahead. Gorey would feel they were probably denied a number of other short corners in the second-half but they never materialised.

With the game balanced on a knife edge late on, Wexford broke down the right wing to sweep the ball across the circle which was disposed brilliantly to the net by Miriam Lambert.

As Gorey pushed on for an equaliser, Wexford broke their hearts and put the game beyond their reach with a second goal at the death.

There was time for some more drama as Marie Buttle expertly cut apart the Wexford defence to earn a last-ditch short corner, but some good defensive play saw Wexford ride out the final attack and the game ended 2-0 to the visitors.

Gorey will feel very hard done by and would also feel that they at least deserved a draw.

For Gorey Linda Dempsey was outstanding in goal and the performances of Gillian Bailey and Alex Weston in the defence were exceptional. Up next is a trip to Kilkenny for the Gorey team.

Gorey 1, Wexford 1: The youthful Gorey outfit took on the might of Wexford II on Sunday last.

The Gorey back line worked hard early on and defended really well, but eventually the Wexford attack broke through the wall and scrambled a lead goal. Gorey never gave up throughout and pushed on searching for the equaliser.

The attacking approach employed by Gorey earned them a short corner at the death which veteran Marie Buttle, just recently added to the field of play, dispatched expertly through the Wexford keeper's legs.

This Gorey team has been playing very well in recent weeks and their play has been deserving of more.

There was huge delight with the late equaliser but Gorey perhaps deserved to take this game late on but will settle for the draw.

It's hard to believe that so many of the players in this squad have progressed from the Junior team of last year and it's clear that there is a bright future ahead for this club.

In defence both Mairéad Cunningham and Bridget Frih worked very hard. Tessa Lunn, Ros Moxon, Róisín Pierce and Emily Kavanagh played very well in the engine room of the team.

The ever-industrious Aisling O'Dwyer was excellent in attack. Onwards and upwards for this team.

Training continues in Gorey Community School Tuesday at 8 p.m. and in Courtown Hibs Friday at 8 p.m. New players are welcome.

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