At the request of the PSNI the First team’s match against them at the Forum on Saturday was postponed.
ANTRIM SECONDS 1 - 3 LISNAGARVEY FIFTHS
The Seconds entertained the unbeaten league leaders Lisnagarvey Fifths hoping to reverse the heavy defeat they suffered earlier in the season. They got off to the worst possible start when from a quick thrust into the Antrim circle the Lisnagarvey centre forward was allowed to turn and smash the ball past the helpless goalkeeper Cameron O’Neill for the 1-0 lead in the very first minute. It didn’t get any better when two minutes later their left winger broke into the circle to easily beat three lethargic defenders and play the ball across the goalmouth where it was belted into the net for the 2-0 lead. The confident visitors were in complete control and the Antrim forwards were caught in possession time after time and seemed unable to break through their defensive shield. Lisnagarvey won a penalty corner in the 15th minute and the shot was blocked by goalkeeper O’Neill but the rebounding ball fell straight into the path of an alert forward who wasted no time in plonking it straight back into the Antrim net for the 3-0 lead. The second quarter was only three minutes old when Chris Wilson broke from deep in his own half into the Lisnagarvey circle only to see his strong shot just skim the wrong side of the post. As the game progressed Antrim’s defence did improve but the forwards were still too slow in getting in crosses making it easy for the Lisnagarvey defence to clear the ball away. Then in the 26th minute an Antrim attack down the left allowed Wilson to get in a shot which the goalkeeper blocked. Nathan Murdock pounced on the rebound and fired the ball under the diving keeper to reduce the arrears. This lifted the Antrim spirits and at last the forwards began to put a little more pressure on the visitors defence. A Lisnagarvey penalty corner shot in the 28th minute was deflected past by goalkeeper O’Neill and the long corner was cleared. With Neil McCullough and Stu Kernaghan slowly taking control of the midfield the forwards were at last putting more and more pressure on the visitors defence, but half time arrived with no more goals being scored. The third quarter was fairly even and as Antrim battled to score again the visitors were content to hold on to what they had depending on their own odd dangerous break forward into the home circle. The last quarter saw Antrim push forward to try and reduce the arrears but despite the efforts of Lyle Kane, Wilson and Murdock the Lisnagarvey defence easily blocked and cleared anything that came their way. Meanwhile the Antrim defenders, led by the impressive Jack Kirkpatrick were smothering most of efforts of the visiting forwards. The game ended with no more goals being score and the after match analysis was that, apart for the first disastrous quarter, the team did well to give this unbeaten Lisnagarvey side, who have been scoring at least six goals every match, a tight run for their money. Team thanks to Stu Campbell and the Lisnagarvey umpire for officiating this game in a fair and expert manner. This week the Seconds travel to Belfast to play Annadale Fourths in their next league match.
Antrim Seconds Squad – C O’Neill, J Kirkpatrick, J Kernaghan, D Mailey, S Kernaghan, R Watt, N Murdock, S Gammon, N McCullough, L Kane, A Pearce, M Watt, J Lavery and C Wilson
SOUTH ANTRIM FIFTHS 0 – 4 ANTRIM THIRDS
Antrim Thirds travelled to Lisburn last Friday evening with a strong team to play South Antrim Fifths in a league match. The game started well with Antrim playing the ball around really well constantly pressurising the South Antrim defence. This eventually told when in the 10th minute Chris Roe surged into the circle and blasted a great reverse stick shot into the net to give Antrim a 1-0 lead. Antrim continued to press and only a few minutes later after more good work, Chris Roe found space in the circle to coolly flicked the ball past the South Antrim keeper into the net to give his team the 2-0 lead. Antrim continued to dominate and in the 25th minute Antrim scored a third goal when from a well worked penalty corner Stevie Gammon play the ball across the goalmouth where Ethan Angel expertly deflected the ball into the net to give his team a 3-0 half time lead. The second half was a closer contest as South Antrim rallied and came back into the game. But Antrim’s goalkeeper Ben Kennedy ably assisted by his defenders were up to the task blocking and clearing all that the homesters had to offer. Antrim were not done yet and after a period of sustained pressure won another penalty corner. Another well worked play saw Stevie Gammon once again feed the ball to Ethan Angel who was superbly positioned in front of goal to slam the ball into the net to give his team an insurmountable 4-0 lead. The game finished with Antrim running out comfortable 4-0 winners. But this does not tell the story of how hard the team had to play and battle to earn this victory. South Antrim are a good team who had their chances and could have nicked something from this game had it not been for the composure and hard work shown by this young Antrim side. This was a mature, battling performance from Antrim Thirds and hopefully they can maintain this momentum going forward. New boy Nathan McCready made a credible debut up front and will surely develop into a very good player. The best performance of the night was from young Mark Patterson who tackled venomously yet had the talent and vision to pick the right passes going forward. This week the Thirds play Portrush Seconds on Friday night at the Antrim Forum with an 8pm start.
SCHOOLBOY BLITZ HOCKEY
On Sunday the Antrim Hockey Club hosted the first Schoolboy Blitz Tournament of the year for Under 11 years and Under 13 years at the Antrim Forum. Teams from Antrim, North Down, Ballymoney, Ballynahinch, Raphoe and Lisnagarvey took part and as usual it was a very enjoyable event with over 100 enthuastic boys and coaches taking part. The Antrim Club are indebted to the hard work of the event organisers Stuart Campbell, Paul Whiteside and their willing small band of helpers for keeping Antrim Hockey Club’s name to the forefront of hockey in the Ulster Branch. More important than the hockey, in association with Ulster Hockey, Antrim Hockey club raised a sum of money for NI Children’s Hospice. This event is hosted monthly in turn by the participating clubs and next month it will take place at the Lisnagarvey Club in Hillsborough. Thanks to all parents, supporters and coaches who helped make it all happen.