ON Sunday the Kilkenny ladies Firsts hockey team began the hockey league programme for 2012/2013. The opening game was a home tie against Carlow and the locals got off to a winning start.
Kilkenny ladies had a very strong squad of 16 players - Searlait Doyle (goalie), Lucy Dooley, Averil Atkinson, Lynn Darling (captain), Debbie Young, Jane Martin, Olivia O’Keefe, Anna Walpole, Clair Phelan, Caitriona Carey, Ally O’Connor, Brona Cadogan, Emma Ryan, Alice McGarry, Susan Shirley and Fleur Barbander.
Coaching the team this year is Kilkenny men’s 1sts captain Emmet Hughes.
Loyal club member and umpire Tristan Lynas helped make sure there was a good rhythm to the on pitch action. The Kilkenny ladies hit the ground running and a hat-trick of goals were scored by forward Sue Shirley during the opening 20 minutes. This left Carlow with little or no hope of saving the day.
The goals came following excellent play and inter-passing from the backs through midfield and up to the forward for Sue, Emma, Alice and Caitriona to try and beat the opposing defence. The first goal came from an attacking short corner. Clair Phelan pushed the ball out to Caitriona Carey, who stopped it and laid it off to Lynn Darling, who drilled it towards the bottom left corner but the goalkeeper saved.
Clair Phelan was quick in on the rebound and passed the ball to Sue, who cracked it into the bottom right corner. Caitriona Carey scored the fourth goal with a stylish finish, flicking the ball over the ’keeper’s head.
Speedy right wing Alice McGarry finished off the fifth goal to leave the score at 5-0 to Kilkenny at half time.
During the second half the locals pieced together some lovely passing moves around the back and through midfield, with great control and passing of the ball by midfielders Clair Phelan, Caitriona Carey, Fleur Barbander, Brona Cadogan and Ally O’Connor. Sue continued her fantastic form and scored twice more to bring the score to 7-0 coming up to the final whistle.
Following a penalty corner Carlow scored in the last minute with a straight shot which was sent high above goalkeeper Searlait Doyle’s head into the back of the net. The Kilkenny girls left the pitch with a feeling of improved self belief and excitement for the season ahead.
Next weekend the Firsts and Seconds play away against Wexford in the second league games of the season. Kilkenny 1sts play Wexford 1sts at 11.30am with Kilkenny 2nds playing Wexford 2nds at 1pm, both in Enniscorthy. These games will be very competitive and tough as Wexford are Kilkenny’s main rivals.
Last season Kilkenny ladies Firsts won the South East Cup final against Wexford Firsts, but Wexford Firsts won the league.
Kilkenny Hockey Club always welcomes new members. Training is held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7.15 to 9pm in Kilkenny College. All interested should look out for upcoming fund-raising events and fun nights out planned in Matt the Millers, Kilkenny hockey club’s loyal sponsor.