ParadeTwo Athlone teams, Our Lady’s Bower and Athlone Community College, contested the Jack Halliday Cup for the title of Connacht Senior Hockey Champions, having left all other Connacht Schools in their wake. This was the second time in the last three finals that Athlone schools have contested the blue riband of Connacht Schools Hockey.

Weather conditions were poor with the game being played in a wet and windswept Athlone Regional Sports Centre. With many of the players from the opposing sides being teammates when on club duty with Athlone Hockey Club, this was always going to be a tense and tight affair. From the pass back the Bower were first to attack but as so often was the case as the match progressed, a disciplined and defiant Community College defence made it hard to find a path to the scoring circle.

The game changed from end to end with the Community College securing several short corners. However, Bower Defencekeeper Katlyn Murrray displayed great skill, repeatedly denying ACC the lead. The break-through for the Community College came just before half time when great forward play resulted in the ball being slotted into the back of the Bower goal.

The second half saw a strong display by the Bower players Liberty McGovern, Kate Nolan and Áine Gallahger, combining well to put the Community College under pressure, but their efforts were denied by a great display by the ACC goalkeeper. The ACC forwards mounted several attacks on the Bower defence but were denied time and time again by Anna O’Donovan and Lauren Gallagher. However, the Bower had worked hard to get to the final and were not giving up without a fight. Forwards Elena Garcia, Jodie Shortall and Kate Commins put ACC under severe pressure. Ultimately however, their efforts were not rewarded. The combined forces of Rebecca Lowe and Kate Nolan came ever so close to evening up the score-line through a short corner. However, with great disappointment the Bower goal was disallowed. The final whistle saw victory go to Athlone Community College, following a very sporting and closely contested final. Many congratulations to them on their win. Undoubtedly, the future of hockey in Athlone looks really bright.

Mr CaseyThe game was played at a very high level, with both teams giving their all in the spirit in which the game should be played, friendly but very competitive. This was a great testament to their coach Rosemary “Gudgie” Moran who had to remain neutral on the day, as she has the honour of being coach to both school teams. Gudgie appointed Mr Ciaran Mac Carthy and Ms Niamh Fallon to manage the Bower team and sincere thanks to them for the terrific job they did on the day. It was fantastic to see such an amount of support from both schools on such a wet and windy afternoon. Thank you to Principal Mr Noel Casey and members of staff for enabling supporters to attend in such numbers. The bower side certainly appreciated the yells of encouragement that came from their friends and classmates throughout. A word of thanks also to Athlone Hockey Club for the wonderful coaching so many of our girls receive on a weekly basis with the club.

 

Our Lady’s Bower Squad:

Katlyn Murray, Ellen Flaherty, Anna O’Donovan, Ellen Kearney, Kate Faller, Liberty Mc Govern (Captain), Rebecca Lowe, Kate Nolan, Kate Commins, Lauren Gallagher, Áine Gallagher, Elena Garcia, Katie Shortall, Jodie Shortall, Ailbhe Moylan, Emily Ruane, Emma Delaney, Sorcha Casey, Katie Gough, Ella Meares, Caoimhe Lawless & Rebecca Collins