(Dromore lose 2-3 on penalty strokes)
ADRENALINE was running high when Portadown Hockey Club came to face the Bliss Beauty sponsored Dromore Ladies firsts in the quarter finals of the Irish Senior Trophy.
The sun was shining but there was a certain chill in the air. Everyone knew there could only be one winner but who that was? No one knew.
The whistle blew as tension was growing. Dromore were laggard to start and as the Portadown supporters were loud and proud they were able to slot three goals in the back of the net. Dromore’s defence of Louise McClurg, Tara Malcolmson, Chelsea Whan, and Jo Titterington knew they had to battle the strength of Portadown’s forwards to keep the scoreline down and they did just that, with some deadly tackles from Louise McClurg.
Although Dromore were 3-0 down this did not reflect the performance of the first half. It was evident Dromore had more possession with several penalty corners just short of hitting the target. Frustratingly for Dromore, they received two green cards.
The interval for half time was clearly a good thing for Dromore as they were on the prowl for goals and goals is just what they gave us.
With attacks from midfielders Nicole Laverty, Robin McKee, Louise McCracken, Gemma Porter, Paige Brown and the player of the match Laura Gamble, Dromore had the ball predominantly in their attacking half.
The skillful and ever hungry for goal forwards were keen to score and a superb break and run from Veronica Cumins made the score 3-1.
Then something drastic happened - Dromore’s feisty Laura Gamble was sent off to the corner meaning they had 10 players on to do the job.
Time was ticking, with 12 minutes left Dromore knew they had to do something spectacular so they stepped it up. The forwards of Lauren Pedlow, Veronica Cumins and Natasha Murray worked hard to keep the Portadown goalie busy.
Laura Gamble and Veronica Cumins then created something magical, smartly they had a number of one-two passes which slotted the ball past the goalkeeper.
It was now 3-2 what did Dromore have left to give? With about one minute left Dromore won a penalty corner.
They tactically chose a corner which was perfectly executed by Tara Malcolmson with a gorgeous deflection of Veronica Cumins stick. This was the thing dreams were made of. It was 3-3.
Now for golden goal. Extra time went fast as both teams had opportunities to attack yet were both unsuccessful. Extra time finished 0-0. It was now the dreaded strokes.
Five players were picked from each team. They had their teams hopes on their shoulders so what were they going to do with this burden.
This pressure got to Dromore as slowly but surely the experienced Portadown team took the lead. However Chelsea Whan and Louise McClurg had very interesting strokes which proved to be a surprise to the Portadown goalkeeper.
Dromores keeper Claire Lowry managed to keep them somewhat through it with superb saves just like the wholeway through the match.
However this was not enough. It ended up 3-2 to Portadown. Dromore fought there way through the match and came out as better players, as the sun shone on throughout this exciting afternoon.