BANGOR THIRDS 4 – 1 ANTRIM SECONDS
Antrim Seconds travelled to play Bangor Thirds in a league match last Friday evening and although they fielded one of their strongest teams of the season they were soundly beaten by four goals to one in a combination of poor play, a couple of injuries and the very wet weather. Antrim started slowly and battling against the wet windy conditions their passing and tackling was poor and the young Bangor team took full advantage of two defensive blunders to take the early 2-0 lead. Things got worse when Lyle Kane was hit by the ball on the arm and had to retire and later sit in the Area Hospital for most of the night before he got treatment. Just before half time Johnny McMeekin scored with a strong penalty corner shot to leave the interval score at 2-1 to the homesters. Antrim’s play didn’t improve in the second half as they continued to hold on to the ball far too long making it easy for the Bangor defence to clear their lines and push forward to attack the Antrim circle. Then McMeekin one of Antrim’s key players pulled up injured and had to retire from the game and the home team took full advantage to score two more goals before the end to run out easy winners. Team thanks go to Stuart Campbell for braving the conditions in going along to umpire this game in his usual and fair manner. The Seconds next match this Saturday is away to Newry Seconds where another tough encounter is expected in their fight for survival in this league
Seconds Squad :- M Whiteside, N Murdock, S Gammon, D Mailey, J McMeekin, S Kernaghan, N McCullough, S McNeill, L Kane, M Kingston, C Wilson, A McBride, C Murray and R McClintock.
RAPHOE THIRDS 2 – 5 ANTRIM THIRDS
Antrim Thirds made the long trip to Donegal on Saturday to play Raphoe Thirds with a strong squad of youth and experience in what is always one of the most difficult fixtures of the season. The game got under way and immediately Antrim went on the attack to win a short corner and Thomas Allen expertly drag flicked the ball past the diving Raphoe goalkeeper to give Antrim the 1-0 lead with barely a minute played. Antrim were beaming with confidence and added a second through the evergreen Brian Creighton in the 7th minute after a fabulous aerial pass from Nathan Murdock and strong running from Jack Kirkpatrick. Raphoe were stunned and just didn’t have an answer to Antrim’s speed in attack. Antrim were playing brilliantly and it was no surprise when they added a third goal in the 20th minute. From a scramble in the Raphoe circle the ball broke to Kirkpatrick who made no mistake in blasting it into the Raphoe net to give Antrim the 3-0 lead. Unsurprisingly Raphoe came back into the game and won a number of penalty corners and from one of these they scored to get them back into the game. The game became more physical and as the robust tackles flew and players retaliated it was no surprise when the umpires handed out suspensions to players from both teams. This seemed to calm the situation and the first half ended with Antrim leading 3-1. The second half got under way and immediately Raphoe went on the attack. Antrim just couldn’t clear the ball and conceded a number of penalty corners. It was from one of these that Raphoe brilliantly played the ball around to leave their centre forward to tap in at the back post for their second goal. This gave the homesters a genuine chance of going on to win the game and it seemed to give them renewed energy to press on. The game was end to end as both teams fought to score the next decisive goal. But Antrim defended well and this allowed the midfield and forwards to push forward to harass the Raphoe defence. With five minutes remaining and the game in the balance it was Creighton who scored. As Raphoe tried to clear from defence Andrew Clarke tackled brilliantly, fed to ball to Creighton and he blasted it into the net to give Antrim the 4-2 lead. This took the wind from Raphoe’s sails and Antrim went to add a fifth before the final whistle when Allen reacted first as the Raphoe defenders hesitated to clinch his team’s 5-2 victory. This was a terrific win for the Thirds as Raphoe were a strong physical team but the young Antrim players stood their ground and refused to be intimidated. The battling performances of Matthew Jeffries and Jamie Kernaghan were the highlight of what was a hard earned team victory. Brian “Geordie” Creighton’s brilliant brace proved that if the enthusiasm and will remains then age is no barrier to competing at this level. Man of the Match deservedly goes to Brian Creighton. Thanks to Raphoe for supplying both umpires who officiated in a fair manner on the day. After this result Antrim will be looking forward to their next fixture against Saintfield Seconds at Antrim Forum this Saturday with the time yet to be arranged.
Thirds Squad :- S Campbell, P Whiteside, M Jeffries, R Watt, N Murdock, T Allen, M Patterson, J Kernaghan, J Lavery, B Creighton, J Kirkpatrick and A Clarke.
ANTRIM GRAMMAR 0 – 6 METHODIST COLLEGE
Antrim Grammar School entertained the Methodist College team in the quarter final of the prestigious Burney Hockey Cup competition last Wednesday afternoon. The Antrim team held the visitors until the 20th minute before they scored twice in three minutes to break the deadlock. This slick Belfast team scored again before half time for the 3-0 lead and after the interval they continued to dominate and as the Antrim heads went down they added three more goals to run out as easy 6-0 winners.