AFTER a cancellation of their McConnell Shield match the previous Saturday due to the snow, Lisnagarvey Ladies 2ndXI were looking forward to having a good run out against a strong Loreto side in the second round of the Irish Junior Cup.
Being last year’s champions, Garvey knew Loreto would be extremely tough and experienced, but with a full squad and being undefeated so far this season, Garvey were confident that they could put up a good fight.
Both teams came out strong with attacks coming from both ends although Loreto seemed to have more of the attacking play. Some great saves from Garvey’s keeper, Leah Young and a shot stopped on the line by captain Sara Allen showed that Garvey’s defence were a force to be reckoned with and kept the score level.
Garvey looked very strong moving forward and their strength was soon rewarded when forward Sophie Glass took the ball into the Loreto circle, used team-mate Anya Coffey to create a lovely one-two round the last Loreto defender and slotted the ball past the keeper to put Garvey one up. This goal gave Garvey a great boost but also increased Loreto’s determination and at half time it was still 1 nil.
The second half started off much the same as the first, with Loreto being the more attacking side, but with a lot of hard work from the Garvey midfield and defence, Loreto were denied the goal they were looking for. The match became a lot more defensive for Garvey as the half progressed, with Hannah Coalter and Lynn Kerr making some vital tackles and clearances to keep Garvey in the lead. The whole team worked together to prevent Loreto making it even and in the moments that Garvey attacked, runs from midfielders Paige Brown and Lisa Macdonnell helped swiftly move the ball up the pitch to allow the forwards to try and increase the gap in the score, but to no avail.
Loreto had 3 short corners in the second half and despite some near misses, including a shot hitting the cross bar and a few more saves just off the goal line, they were still unable to get past the strong Garvey defence. The last 5 minutes were very tense as every Garvey team member defended against an extremely frustrated Loreto side and the ball was barely out of the Garvey defensive quarter. The full time whistle brought relief for Garvey as they had worked extremely hard to maintain their lead and it had all paid off, giving them the opportunity to progress further in this cup and improve their reputation as they are now one of only two remaining Ulster teams in the competition.