Last weekend, Banbridge Ladies were knocked out of the Irish Hockey Trophy in the most heart-breaking of styles.
The local girls twice pegged back visitors Kilkenny before the Leinster side snatched a last gasp winner via a penalty corner.
The Bann ladies started the game very well by testing the Kilkenny defence right from the first whistle. Forwards Rachel Cairns and Amy Atkinson created excellent chances early on and were unlucky not to convert.
The Bann ladies continually pressed the Kilkenny ladies into their own defensive circle but any chances they got, the Bann midfielders Elayne Brown, Gail McConnell and Sam Bann put a stop to it and created numerous counters.
The shots came from left, right and centre but the Kilkenny keeper kept the score-line 0-0.
As the first half progressed, Kilkenny created some very clever and fast counter attacks upon the Bann defence.
However, through great tackles from Sarah McCracken, Jill Mehaffey, Charlie Brush and Alannah Magee, they put a stop to any efforts. Unluckily, a clearance from the Bann defence saw the Kilkenny forward take a strike from the top of the circle making the score 1-0 to Kilkenny.
This score-line changed very quickly though. As the Bann ladies continued to create excellent chances through quick balls from Sarah McCracken and Gail McConnell, they found Sam Bann wide on the left who passed the ball straight into the circle and Cathy Rees slotted home to make it 1-1.
The Bann girls settled themselves again in the second half, created and winning numerous penalty corners but were unlucky Rachel Cairns’ drag flicks were saved.
Alex Jenkinson and Amanda Morton were testing the defence time after time but without joy.
Kilkenny gained momentum and began testing the Bann defence again and again and through a converted penalty corner they made the score 2-1.
The Bann ladies took this momentum and channelled it to win a string of penalty corners, the ball landed with Rachel Cairns who passed it back to Amy Atkinson who took her strike from the top of the circle making it 2-2.
With the clock ticking, the Bann ladies knew they had to keep possession and to keep pressing the Kilkenny defence.
However, in the final two minutes, mistakes from the Bann ladies led to a Kilkenny penalty corner. It was converted and the final whistle blew.
The Banbridge ladies weere disappointed not to progress but should be very pleased with the team performance they put in.
The girls nominated Sam Bann as player of the match with her tiresome efforts, skilful ball skills and general attitude to the game.
The girls would also like to thank the supporters who made the effort to stay outside on a very cold winters night. And, finally thank you to AB&C insurance for their continued support through the season.