As far as run-ins to Christmas go, this was one of the better ones. Our 1st year girls had lost their opening fixture away to Loreto Beaufort a couple of weeks prior so they were gunning for a chance to show what they could really do.
A few new faces had joined the hockey program since the opening game and St. Kilian’s had the benefit of 3 subs for this match, home advantage, and a visiting team that had spent a long time on a bus!
Despite the inclement conditions – a cool breeze and drizzling rain, with the hint of sleet in the air – the girls knuckled down to the challenge of bringing the 2nd half of their Loreto game to the whole match vs Wilson’s Hospital.
A couple of the new recruits caught the eye in particular – Alice Koloskova taking every opportunity to launch herself and the ball forward to the forward unit, and Klaudia Warner playing a high line deep in the Wilson’s circle, keeping their centre backs on their toes throughout the game. This high-pressure tactic – backed by merciless tackling from Maud Fahey in midfield – opened up huge swathes of space for our midfield runners to exploit – Koloskova, Lauren McKeon, and Zoe Taschler finding momentum and opportunity to carry the ball cleverly towards the opposition goal.
The deadlock was duly broken early in the 2nd half by some smart link play between Leona Daly, Giulia Dalan, and Aoife Chubb, with Aoife delighting in the final touch at the near post to put St. Kilian’s ahead.
The opening score was quickly followed by a wonderful solo goal from Alice Koloskova, running with purpose at the Wilson’s defence with one objective in mind – to find that back board and celebrate!
The girls worked hard on their passing game following the 2nd half lead and started to build some nice patterns, with Freya Niklas finding gaps in the opposition defence allowing Leona Daly, Arianna Gonzalez, and Maud Fahey to thread passes through to the rotating high forward, creating chance after chance and winning 4v3 opportunities consistently. Hats off (or should that be helmets off?) to the Wilson’s Hospital goalkeeper for an unbelievable display in nets to thwart the best laid plans of the St. Kilian’s forward unit on this occasion – holding the home team to just two goals in the end.
Not a ton of work to do in our defence in this match, which meant an easier afternoon for Isabel Horrigan and Eve Sanatjou – not that anyone was complaining, the easy days only come from huge team efforts.
St. Kilian’s Hockey Coach