Victoria College Belfast 0 Ballyclare High School 1
Victoria College succumbed to a strong Ballyclare team in the final of the second XI McDowell Cup at Roughfort on Monday 14 March 2016. The match was played at a great tempo throughout in superb sunny weather.
Victoria had the first opportunity after only two minutes as a marauding Georgia Ross found Ara McCartan and her cross-cum-shot just evaded the lunging Pheobe Hagan.
Ballyclare enjoyed the majority of possession in the early stages with VCB's Anna Wylie, Gina Gilmartin and Lauren Russell all making vital interceptions to deny the opposition.
It wasn't until the eleventh minute that Ballyclare got their first real opportunity, but Victoria goalkeeper Lauren Henderson made a superb diving save and cleared the danger with her stick. A minute later her team were indebted to her again as she made a wonderful save with her leg to deny a rasping shot from the Ballyclare forward.
Ballyclare eventually took the lead after 20 mins when two forwards found themselves free in the circle to easily slot home past Lauren Henderson.
Victoria thought they had equalised a few moments later when Georgia Ross's penalty corner effort went into the net. However it was ruled out for being too high. At the end of the half the game went from end to end with Victoria's swift counter attacks causing Ballyclare problems whilst at the other end Ballyclare made Lauren Henderson make a number of vital saves.
Victoria stated the second half much brighter with Natasha Patterson particularly impressive down the left hand side. They won a couple of penalty corners but they came to nothing after great defending by the Ballyclare team.At the other end Lauren Henderson again made a vital save to keep her side in the game.
The game was becoming more and more stretched as time went on. Both sets of forwards we're seeing more of the ball in open spaces although neither team created a chance of note until the 24th minute when Lauren Henderson was against at her best to thwart a Ballyclare attack.
Victoria got their first meaningful shot of the half my on target with only two minutes left when Georgia Ross played Pheobe Hagan in and her effort was saved by a diving Ballyclare keeper. Despite exerting plenty of pressure in the final five minutes Victoria College couldn't find that elusive goal and lost by the smallest of margins.
Squad: Lauren Henderson, Lauren Russell, Anna Wylie, Sophie McConn, Rebecca Bunn, Gina Gilmartin, Georgia Ross, Hannah MacLaren, Cara Monthomery, Ara McCartan, Harriet Bedi, Emma Connolly, Pheobe Hagan, Natasha Patterson, Sarah Hanley, Sarah Webb