Our 2A XI reached the Final of the McDowell Cup having beaten Rainey Endowed 2 nil on Saturday 2nd March. The team played some super hockey and scored 2 great goals, a reverse stick shot into the roof of the net by Frankie Park and a composed 2 v 1 between Amelia Hopkins and Zara Hanna around the Rainey goal keeper with Zara confidently slotting the ball home to win the match.
Next up the final against Friends School Lisburn at Civil Service on Monday 11th March. We knew Friends were a good side who had the better of us twice already this season but our confidence was high and our match play much improved since these encounters early in the season. So we approached the game in a positive mindset determined to give it our best shot. From the first whistle we had to absorb pressure from Friends but did so despite the nerves. It was still nil all as the first half clock ticked on but a well-executed corner put Friends ahead at a crucial time. However, Strathearn did not let their heads go down and with seconds on the clock, Eve McKibbin won a free and fired a ball high into the circle to Amelia Hopkins who did well to control the ball then turned to strike the ball home in expert fashion - even the Friends coaches were impressed! So, we finished the half on level terms.
The second half was more of the same attacking play by Friends and we were just not quite as quick to react every where on the pitch except in the goal where Lauren Armstrong played a blinder keeping us in the match a number of times. However after a number of corners against us we just didn't get out fast enough and Friends took their opportunity to go ahead again. Now we did have our moments in attack but just couldn't get control of the game and the clock was against us. With 5 minutes to go Amelia was on the ball in the circle again and found a gap across the penalty spot to Anna McKibbin who took her chance to blast the ball into the goal. We were back in it and penalty runs loomed but Friends attacked strongly and took their chance to go ahead for the third time in the match. With only 2 minutes to go we did everything we could to try and equalise, bringing off the keeper to get another player up front, everybody doubling their intensity, winning a penalty corner with seconds to go, alas it wasn't to be and we had to settle for runners up. But to say the team showed character and determination to come back not once but twice and nearly a third time, is an understatement.
The 2A's have had a brilliant cup run and we are very proud of each of them from the youngest starting their senior hockey career in Form 4 to the oldest finishing their school hockey career, a cup final is a great way to end the season. Well done girls!
A BIG THANK YOU to all our supporters at the final and throughout the season, you kept us going right to the end. #ENCOURAGE#EMPOWER#EXCEL