The Ulster Hockey under 16 & under 18 girls sides got their 2023 Interpros underway yesterday with two big wins over Connacht.
A 7-0 win for the U16s was followed by a 10-0 victory for the 18s as they both got off to a successful start at Three Rock Rovers Hockey Club.
U16s DEFEAT CONNACHT 7-0:
The first game of the day saw our younger side in action first and they got off to a great start when they took the lead with just seven minutes played. Having won a series of short corners the ball eventually made its way to the back post when Caitlin Gribbin scored from close range.
Just six minutes later they doubled their lead when a free-flowing move saw the side work the ball from back to front as they progressed the ball upfield from a free hit. Upon entering the opposition 25 the unmarked Gracie McNally was picked out in the penalty area before remaining composed to pick out the bottom corner.
Ulster continued to threaten the Connacht net and got their third goal of the afternoon midway through the second quarter. Having broken down the left flank, the ball was sent into the penalty area for two unmarked forwards before an initial strike was saved by the goalkeeper. However, Bonnie Connor-Boyd was there to convert on the second attempt.
The score remained 3-0 for a large period of the game before two goals in quick succession from Emma McEntee and Leah Galbraith made it 5-0 to the travelling Ulster team with twenty minutes still to play.
With the game entering the closing stages Ulster made it 6-0 when they got their reward for pressing the Connacht defence and winning the ball back in a dangerous position. The ball was then worked to McEntee who converted the chance for her second of the afternoon.
The scoring was rounded off two minutes before the final whistle when Evie Girvan was played through one-on-one with the goalkeeper before calmly picking out the far corner to make it 7-0.
U18s SECURE 10-0 VICTORY:
Like the U16s, the U18s got off to a flying start when they took the lead against Connacht with just five minutes on the clock. The young Ulster side did well to work the ball to the byline before cutting it back to the penalty spot where Holly Beckinsale scored with a first-time finish.
Seven minutes later it was 2-0 when Ulster launched a counter-attack and quickly broke through the Connacht defence before Emily Adamson doubled the lead.
Similarly to the U16s, the U18s then scored two goals in quick succession as they found the net twice in less than a minute with Annie Cunningham and Rachel Lennon extending the lead to four with 23 minutes on the clock.
As we approached the halfway mark there was still time for one more Ulster goal as Katie Herron finished off another well-worked Ulster move to make it 5-0 in the final move before the midway stage.
A relatively quiet third quarter saw Ulster’s best chances come from short corners as the Connacht goalkeeper was forced into a number of good saves before Scarlett Taylor’s straight strike from the top of the circle finally added a sixth goal.
A dominant final quarter from our U18s saw four more goals with the first two coming from Emily Adamson as she completed her hat-trick before two more late goals from Kia McCartney and Alyssa Boyd complete the 10-0 victory.
The sides are next in action on Sunday 24 September when they take on Munster with the venue still TBD.