MOSSLEY FOURTHS 1 – 2 ANTRIM SECONDS
Antrim Seconds travelled the short distance to the Glade on Saturday to play Mossley Fourths in their penultimate league game of the season, seeking a win in their desperate fight to avoid relegation. These two strong experienced teams battled for control but both defences stubbornly blocked most of the attacks that came their way. The Antrim back four of David Mailey, Robbie Watt, Shaun O’Neill and Nathan Murdock worked hard to get the ball through to midfielders, Johnny McMeekin, Stuart Kernaghan and Mark Kingston and then on to forwards Ricky McClintock, Neil McCullough and Jack Kirkpatrick. Chances went a begging at both ends until the 30th minute when a mistake in the Antrim defence allowed a young Mossley forward to score from close in to take the 1-0 lead. Antrim fought back in the second half making full use of their substitutes Matty Watt and Steven Gammon to exert pressure on the tiring Mossley defence. With time running out Antrim threw everything into the attack and in the 60th minute they got their reward when the hard working McClintock slammed the ball home from close range for the equaliser. Antrim kept up the pressure and with just two minutes remaining in the game the ball was fired across the Mossley goalmouth for McCullough to sweep it into the net to clinch this very important victory and collect the three points. With just one match remaining, away to Newry Seconds this result leaves about five teams in the picture for relegation and only a win will do to give the Antrim team a chance of avoiding the drop. Team thanks go to Antrim’s Chris Wilson and the Mossley official for their expert and fair umpiring of this game. This week the Seconds are at home to CIYMS Seconds in the first round of the Junior Cup the starting time yet to be arranged.
Seconds Squad :- M Whiteside, D Mailey, R Watt, S O’Neill, N Murdock, J McMeekin, S Kernaghan, M Kingston, R McClintock, N McCullough, J Kirkpatrick, R Watt and S Gammon.
ANTRIM THIRDS 3 – 0 SAINTFIELD SECONDS
Antrim Thirds entertained Saintfield Seconds at the Paddy Marks Arena on Saturday in their last league match of the season. Antrim started well and the game was less than two minutes old when Jamie Kernaghan latched on to a rebound off the goalkeeper’s pads to slam the ball back into the net for the 1-0 lead. Antrim kept up the pressure but time after time their attacks broke down at the edge of the circle. Saintfield were a strong experienced side who pressurised Antrim defenders Stuart Campbell, Paul Whiteside, M Jeffries and Marty Coulter but Antrim’s midfielders Tommy Monahan, Ethan Angell and Mark Patterson worked hard to get the ball through to forwards Chris Roe, Jamie Kernaghan and Adam Pearce. Then from a 28th minute penalty corner Monahan played the ball to Roe on his right and he immediately switched it left for Angell to drive it under the diving goalkeeper into the net for the 2-0 lead which they held until half time. The visitors fought back with determination as the second half progressed and for a period of 15 minutes they won corner after corner but a combination of good saves by goalkeeper Cameron O’Neill, stout defending by Campbell, Whiteside and Coulter and poor shooting, they just couldn’t score. A ten minute hail storm slowed the game down but it continued as both teams struggled to adjust to the wet conditions. As the game proceeded, play became scrappy and the Antrim players were making their old familiar mistakes of holding on to the ball far too long allowing their opponents to win it back time after time. Then in the 68th minute in an attack into the Saintfield circle their goalkeeper made a brilliant one handed save from an Angell shot but he reacted first to swoop on the rebound and slam the ball back into the net to clinch the 3-0 victory. Team captain Stuart Campbell was very pleased with the performance of his younger inexperienced players, Alex Myers, Alex Jeffries, Josh Laverty, Mark Patterson and Adam Pearce who are fitting in and playing well in this tough league. Team thanks go to Antrim’s Nial Black and the Saintfield umpire for their fair and expert handling of this game. This week the Thirds travel to play Ballymena Seconds in the first round of the Minor Cup.
Thirds Squad :- C O’Neill, S Campbell, P Whiteside, M Coulter, M Jefferies, T Monahan, E Angell, M Patterson, J Laverty, A Pearce, J Kernaghan, C Roe and A Myers.
UNDER 13 BOYS COOKSTOWN BLITZ TOURNAMENT
Antrim U13s travelled to Cookstown on Sunday to compete in the most recent Linwood’s Health Foods Ulster Hockey Blitz. The conditions were challenging to say the least, with freezing temperatures, bitter cold winds and the occasional hail storm added for the boys to compete in against some of the best young teams in Ulster Hockey. Antrim’s first match was against Ballynahinch and after a slow start they grew into the game. The team was under pressure from a well drilled opposition but defended well and when the chance came to attack the boys took it with both hands. Antrim starlet James Steen found the space up front and blasted the ball past the diving goalkeeper to give Antrim a 1-0 lead which they doggedly held on to the end. In the next game Antrim came up against the best team on the day, Cookstown Whites. They played well and created enough chances to get something from the game but Cookstown were very strong and put the Antrim defence under pressure from the start. Antrim’s goalkeeper Caleb McClean made a couple of excellent saves to keep his team in the game but he could do nothing when a Cookstown forward blasted the ball into the corner of the net from close range to clinch the narrow victory. In the next game against Cookstown Red the Antrim boys seemed to grow in confidence and they began to play the ball around creating space and chances in the opposition half. The game was end to end with Antrim’s defenders Sam Magee and Ethan Wilson tackling brilliantly to give their team a platform to attack. Antrim pressed forward and it was Noah Colhoun who broke the deadlock and when he found himself unmarked, he kept his cool to slot the ball under the diving Cookstown goalkeeper to give Antrim a 1-0 lead. Cookstown pressed forward looking for the equaliser, but Antrim were not done and after a great reverse pass by James Steen across the Cookstown goalmouth the talented Owen Creighton ghosted in at the back post to slip the ball into the Cookstown net to give his team a 2-0 lead. Cookstown fought back but they could not break down the stubborn Antrim defence who confidently held on to run out as the 2-0 winners. In the fourth and final game of the day Antrim came up against Raphoe. As seems the norm for these Blitzes the boys got better as the day went on and in this game they played brilliantly against a strong Raphoe team. Antrim started on the front foot and got their reward early on when Noah Colhoun showed great skill and composure to blast the ball into the Raphoe net to give his team a 1-0 lead. Antrim continued to attack and a great team passing move was finished off as Owen Creighton created the space and unselfishly passed to Sam Magee who was best placed at the top of the circle to blast the ball into the net past the diving Raphoe goalkeeper to give Antrim a 2-0 lead. Raphoe were not down and out and came back at Antrim but as in the previous game the Antrim defence, well marshalled by Ethan Wilson and goalkeeper Caleb McClean, held strong and didn’t allow Raphoe to break their resolve. As Raphoe pressed forward this left space up front for the Antrim forwards and in the final minutes a brilliant pass by Sam Magee found the unmarked James Steen at the top of the circle who showed great skill and composure to round the advancing goalkeeper to give himself a sight of goal. He was forced onto his reverse and showed maturity beyond his years to get into the right position to blast the ball into the net to give his team the convincing 3-0 victory. This was a great day out for Antrim U13s with three victories against some of the top clubs in Ulster Youth Hockey with the only narrow defeat coming against Cookstown Whites who were unbeaten on the day. Antrim defended well on the day with Ethan Wilson, Sam Magee, Daniel O’Connor and Daniel Connolly tackled brilliantly throughout doing their best to protect goalkeeper Caleb McClean who made numerous excellent saves when the games were in the balance to give his team so much confidence. Antrim midfielders Owen Creighton and Lewis Clarke worked tirelessly all day, harassing the opposition and passing the ball forward giving their team a platform to attack. Antrim forwards Noah Colhoun, Marco Pandolfi and James Steen were fantastic as they found space in dangerous areas to create goal-scoring chances. Antrim worked really hard, showed great skill and composure and were rewarded with the goals that gave them such good results on the day. Thanks go to the Cookstown Club for hosting such an excellent event, to the parent of the boys for their support in the freezing conditions and to their Coach Stewart Campbell whose hard work and enthusiasm is now producing some great young talent for Antrim Hockey Club. These results will give the Antrim boys confidence as they prepare for the Linwood’s Health Foods Ulster Hockey Finals day which will be held at Ballymena Academy on Sunday 14th April 2019.
Antrim Under 13 Squad :- Sam Magee, Daniel O’Connor, Ethan Wilson, Daniel Connolly, James Steen, Noah Colhoun, Lewis Clarke, Caleb McClean, Marco Pandolfi and Owen Creighton.