While enjoying a good run in this season’s Ulster Hockey Union Junior Cup competition, Carrick Ladies 2nd XI have struggled in the league.
So a wet and windy journey to Saintfield on Saturday afternoon was hardly an appealing prospect for the young team or their hard-working coach Gary McIlroy.
But with the driving rain continuing to sheet down under Saintfield’s shimmering floodlights, Carrick applied themselves boldly right from the opening whistle.
The visitors indeed looked much more at home on the gravel in spite of the awful weather and the unfamiliar surface, leading to an early goal from Carrick’s Stacy Keatley followed by another from Jeni Leigh Patterson.
Going into the second half with a two-goal advantage, Carrick continued to press forward, spearheaded by some Abbie Lyttle trickery down the right as the speedy winger caused endless problems for her opponents. And with Carrick’s Holly Robinson also delivering some blockbuster passes from midfield deep into the Saintfield circle, the home defence remained severely stretched.
Up until this point, Carrick’s defence had remained resolute but mid-way through the second half, Saintfield struck back to reduce the deficit to a single goal. Carrick, however, continued to press forward and another goal from Patterson sealed an excellent afternoon’s work for the travelling squad.
With this result leapfrogging Carrick two places off the bottom of the Junior Four league table, Carrick captain Erin McElvogue was understandably in a positive mood immediately after the game.
“The girls delivered a superb performance in extremely difficult conditions with the entire team contributing to a thoroughly deserved win,” said Erin. “Everyone worked really hard against a resolute defence and hopefully this result against a mid-table team will help to build confidence as we prepare to move into the second half of our league season next weekend.”
Carrick Player of the Match: Abbie Lyttle