By Kathy Taylor
It was an early start on a Sunday morning for North Down under 11’s as they travelled to Garvey to compete in UWHU finals day along with 25 other clubs.
Only one team from each club was allowed to enter and so the competition was very high. North Down were slow to get going with a 3-0 defeat in their opening game against a hard hitting Armagh. The defence battled hard with excellent tackling and clearances from Saioa Oscoz and Lara Hanafin. Caitlin Taylor ‘terriered’ away but the tall physical Armagh team were too much for us. Olivia Davidson had a baptism of fire with her first ever experience as a goalkeeper and her ability and confidence grew throughout the day. In match two, against Portadown, she was exceptional and her comment as she left the pitch was ‘I made 8 saves and only 1 goal got in’ says it all. The 1-0 defeat was a fair result North Down were not yet playing to their full potential.
By their 3rd game the U11 girls were finding their form. There was good play from Chyanne Clarke and Daisy Fisher in the midfield linking well with Sara Moreland up front. The team were very unlucky to be beaten 1-0 by Rainey in the last minute of the game. Match four against Carrickfergus was tough from start to finish. A strong attack from Sara Moreland resulted in a cheeky rebound goal for Caitlin Taylor. The tireless work from Lara Hanafin and Daisy Fisher was crucial. The final score was 1-1 and North Down U11’s were delighted. The immediate turn around and change of pitch only confused us for a minute and the match against Enniskillen was dominated by good play from the entire team. Great work both in defence and attack from Leah McMillan and a confident performance resulted in a break and a great goal from Caitlin Taylor. The 1-0 win was well deserved and we now had some tired but very happy girls.
The sixth game against Larne saw some nice passing hockey and great teamwork from Daisy Fisher, Sara Moreland and Katie Corken. One great goal for Sarah Moreland after some near misses gave her the taste of glory that she continued later in the day. The second goal was from a determined Caitlin Taylor leaving the final score 2-0. With the mix of results North Down had accumulated in their group they had qualified for the plate competition. The first plate game was against Saintfield; despite valiant efforts and excellent saves from Olivia Davidson with strong tackling from Saioa Oscoz and Chyanne Clarke we were a bit unlucky to lose 1-0.
The next match against Ulster Elks was a different story; super play from a goal thirsty Sara Moreland saw her score a hat-trick. Chyanne Clarke scored the fourth goal of the game after a determined series of attacks. We finished second in the group and completed the day on a high.
Well done girls – you had great team spirit and never gave up. You have all shown great improvement this season !
A good day for everyone thanks go to all the parents for their support despite the cold conditions, to Soupy for umpiring and to Julie Fisher and Kathy Taylor for their words of wisdom and coaching from the sidelines!