The ladies first eleven welcomed Donegal visitors Raphoe to Comber Leisure Centre in the Irish Trophy last Saturday. The girls were expecting a tough game with Premier League Raphoe and, missing three regulars, knew this would be a big game.
The first quarter started evenly with the North Down defence comfortably dealing with the high pressing Raphoe team. With good movement and strong passing between Rachel Mornin, Caitlyn Taylor, Heather Britain and Megan Murray the ball was able to find its way through to the forwards but the first period was scoreless.
The second quarter was more attacking from both sides. Link up play from Natalie Wallace and Amy Kimber saw North Down get their first short corner of the game. A belter of a strike from Heather Britain deflected just wide by a Raphoe stick gave the girls hope. After many circle penetrations the North Down girls could not get that final ball into the back of the net. Raphoe favoured North Down’s left side in their attacks but Betty Burrows confidently held her own and linked up with Lauren Brown and Olivia Brown to switch the play to the right for Rachel Murphy and Caitlyn Taylor to strike back.
After half time the North Down girls slowed down and Raphoe came out fighting, attacking relentlessly with Megan Murray putting in a solid performance in centre back to stop anything getting through but it was still scoreless at the third period end. Into the final quarter North Down introduced Isla Lockhart and Jenna Hoey up front there was only going to be one outcome. Lovely play between the two resulted in the home team finally going 1-0 ahead. But the lead was short lived as Raphoe hit back within a minute with a scrappy goal to make it 1-1.
With 10 minutes left the pace of the game picked up with the Comber girls creating chance after chance. A counterattack from Raphoe put them 2-1 ahead and this led to a frenzied last 5 minutes with relentless action however it wasn’t to be for North Down as time finally ran out leaving it 2-1 to Raphoe. The girls left disappointed however proud as a great shift was put in against a team from a league above.
Burch Autos Player of the Match was Megan Murray.