New pitch for Kilkeel Hockey Club

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

New pitch for Kilkeel Hockey Club thumbnailJohn Bird, Club President, cuts the ribbon to open Kilkeel Hockey Club’s new pitch. He is surrounded by club officials, councillors, players and supporters

Kilkeel Hockey Club would like to thank all the teams that travelled to make the matches possible both for the junior blitz and the senior matches.

We would also like to thank all our sponsors, councillors and club members who helped make the new pitch a reality.

It was a fantastic day which began with the junior blitz where teams from Banbridge and Armagh came down to play two teams from our own youth setup. It was the first time Kilkeel has hosted an event such like this and I think it is safe to say it was a success. All the kids really enjoyed themselves and there was plenty of good hockey being played by all teams.

Next on the schedule was the muchly anticipated match between the Men's 3rd XI and the Kilkeel Old Boys team.

There were many guys who hadn't picked up a stick for several years, but that didn't stop them putting on a great spectacle.

One man in particular seemed to be in inspired form in the nets for the old boys. Our very own president John Bird who rolled back the years with some great reaction saves denying the 3s a few early goals.

The old boys were giving a good account of themselves, but the quickness of some of the younger players of the thirds soon showed as young Jack Nicholson raced through going past several defenders before going round John Bird and finishing really well from a tight angle for 1-0.

There was a few half chances for the veterans' side but nothing that really troubled Christopher McKee who was making his club debut as the whistle blew for half time.

The second half began and the old boys came out the blocks quick, looking very dangerous going forward. They won a series of penalty corners which were dealt with initially by keeper McKee in the 3s goal, but it wasn't long till they had something to cheer. Another penalty corner this time was well worked and it fell to Eddie Coulter who finished well despite the best efforts of the keeper and it trickled over the line to level the score at 1-1.

The joy though was soon short lived as moments later after the restart, Alexander McKee fired a powerful shot past the keeper to fire the 3s back into the lead.

It was an end-to-end game with Colin McConnell coming closest as he fired a shot from the edge of the area which crashed off the inside of the post and trickled away to deny what would of been an equaliser.

As the game drew to a close Andrew Chambers sealed the victory for the 3s as he finished well to make it 3-1 which is how it finished.

It was an extremely entertaining game from the first whistle and it was great to see some faces from the clubs past back in club colours playing on the new pitch.

It was a very good workout for the 3s as well as they begin their competitive campaign next Friday night away to Ballymena in the Junior 3 League Cup.

Next up was the Ladies turn as they welcomed Owls Ladies in their match.

It was always going to be a tough game with the visitors being in the division above, but that didn't stop them from giving this match a real go.

For large parts of the game they dominated, creating several openings with captain Courtney Hill playing an inspired role at the heart of the midfield.

Kilkeel did take the lead from a penalty corner as Rachel Blakely scored when the ball fell kindly to her after a few blocks from the visitors defence.

It was most definitely a deserved lead for the Ladies and despite coming under a lot of pressure in the second half from Owls they looked like they were going to hold on.

However the visitors really upped their game in the final ten minutes as they equalised with a fine individual run from one of the forwards who then squared to her strike partner to finish off the move and make it 1-1.

Then just a couple of minutes from time the Ladies fell asleep at the back as tiredness set in and after a few blocks and tackles, the ball fell to the stick of an owls player who scored from close range to complete the turnaround and take a 2-1 victory.

It was a disappointing end to the game for the girls, but their was a lot of positives for them to take from this performance as they head into the new season.

After the unveiling ceremony down at the front gate where club president John Bird cut the ribbon to officially unveil the new pitch, the next match was the Mens 1st XI against Weston.

The men had only played on Thursday night against Antrim in another pre season friendly where they won 8-1.

This game was going to be a much tougher task though against the side from Dublin.

In the previous two games the men had started slowly and unfortunately it didn't change in this match either.

Like the whole of the game, the last ten minutes was full of goals. Kilkeel scored twice to establish a 7-5 lead, but just to make the final few minutes a bit nervy the Juniors notched another goal to make it 7-6.

Thankfully for Kilkeel there was no more goals and they managed to pick up the victory in what was a frantic but very entertaining match.

The seconds will begin their season at home to Lisnagarvey next Saturday


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