Friday 15 December 2017

Hockey: Naughton's goal gives Anville cup

Mount Anville 1 Mount Sackville 0

A single goal from Aisling Naughton midway through the second half gave Mount Anville victory in the Leinster Schoolgirls' Junior Hockey Cup final at Dublin's Grange Road.

From the start, Mount Anville had dominated play and won their first penalty corner inside the first five minutes after good work by Maeve Crowley and hard hitting from Anna O'Connell.

Fortunately, the robust Mount Sackville defence was up to the task and Shauna Hinkson's shot on goal was deflected wide.

Only moments later, Aisling Naughton was making the first of many darting solo runs up the pitch, shaking off her hard-pressed marker Aideen Griffin and winning another penalty corner for her side.

This time, it was the Mount Sackville keeper Blaithin Colgan who proved the last line of defence, making one of several magnificent saves, aided this time by Hinkson. Also in the thick of the Mount Sackville defence was captain Kate Donegan along with Sadhbh Quinn.

Although Mount Anville were piling on the pressure, with Naughton and O'Connell lurking inside the circle ominously, Mount Sackville started to edge their way into match. But while they gradually pushed upfield, too often their passes found the stick of a waiting Mount Anville defender and the momentum returned to the Anville girls.

A goal attempt by right winger O'Connell was kicked away by Colgan. Moments later, a pass from Sarah McCarthy found O'Connell. She then flicked on the ball to Sophie Moore, lurking in front of the goal, but the final shot was too long.

A free taken by Kate Donegan saw Mount Sackville on the attack, but again this came to nothing. Soon Naughton was back causing mayhem -- not for nothing is she already one of the fastest sprinters in her school.

A pass to Moore forced the Mount Sackville keeper Colgan to use her feet and she kicked the shot on goal safely away. With half-time approaching, Joanna Crowley and Aideen Griffen were doing good work for Mount Sackville.

After the break, Jenny Maguire was again pushing forward for Mount Anville, with Maeve Crowley and Ciara Noble also in the thick of it. A dangerous pass across the goal face from Noble missed only a final touch, while a pass from Naughton to Moore resulted in another missed opportunity.

Mount Sackville never gave up, attempting again and again to take control of play, but foiled all too often by the Anville midfield and stout defence by sweeper Alison Baker, working behind Maguire, Clarke and Noble.

An attack by Crowley and O'Carroll was defused by the Mount Sackville defence, but just when it was most needed, a little bit of magic from Naughton, who was named Player of the Match, gave Mount Anville the goal they so desperately needed.

Mount Anville counter-attacked, but soon were camped in their own half of the pitch. They had battled bravely, and can take a lot of comfort from the fact that they denied Mount Anville for so long. They will be back!

Squads -- Mount Anville: N Walsh, A Baker, A Clarke, C Noble, R Murphy, M Crowley, S McCarthy, A O'Connell, S Moore (co-capt), A Naughton, C Carton, F McCarthy, A Dooley O'Carroll, J Maguire, L McCarthy (co-capt), S Barry. Mount Sackville: B Colgan, A Griffin, S Neylon, S Quinn, K Donegan (capt), S Huckson, J Crowley, K Coady, C Keaney, P Cashin, A Waters, S Cumins, H Foster, E Griffin, M Grogan, O Cashell, O Smart.

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