St. Kilian’s took the high road (A.k.a. the N11) to Wicklow town on Tuesday for a senior squad double-header against East Glenadalough School – the boys competing in the Leinster Senior Boys league and the girls in the opening round of the Leinster Senior Girls Cup.
A packed bus (limited seats!) was rocking to the beats of boys captain Louis Prehn while the girls contributed capably at the higher octaves when the opportunity arose. With one eye on potential advancement in the schools cup the girls weren’t lacking motivation or readiness, once they negotiated the 90-min wait for action as the boys opened the day’s proceedings against their Wicklow combatants.
The boys game tipped off brightly with a serious of robust challenges in midfield as the two senior boys squads took the measure of each other. No Oliver Graham today to weave the strands of the passing web so it was a more direct and physical approach adopted – Oisin Wynne and Cian Brennan in midfield chomping at the bit for a high energy game, with Thomas O’Grady unlucky on two early occasions from the top of the EGS circle with somewhat speculative strikes. The signs were pretty good – traffic was flowing nicely on the pitch as they say and the passes were connecting – returnees Ryan Schakermann and Jack Hogan looking fresh after their summer off hockey and keen to stretch the legs against a fairly youthful Glendalough outfit.
Earlier in the week St. Kilian’s were shorn of their TY compadres as work experience duty kept 4 senior squad starters out of the fray and the absence of midfield dynamo Luca Sauvegrain-Meehan, defensive titans Chris Daly and Johann Jahns, and quartermaster Leon Ryan became more noticeable as the game ticked on. The deadlock was broken after 15 mins by a wonder strike from a Wicklow penalty corner which rattled the St. Kilian’s defence and begain to sow doubt where previously composure reigned. Like the strikes on the Ruhr Valley dams of yore, EGS pounded the St. Kilian’s circle with wave after wave of exploratory balls, seeking the cracks that would put the game beyond reach. A momentary ray of sunshine arrived in the form of a sublime Cian Brennan deflection off a strong Tom O’Grady near-post rocket gave our boys a glimmer of hope. A false dawn unfortunately as the passing confidence from EGS grew and the Wicklow goals arrived one after another like high-level Sprachdiplom grades in a bumper year. Final score? Yeah, no….we’ll hold that one over for a table quiz somewhere in the future!
In stark contrast the girls game exploded into life in the 2nd minute when Grace Curtin opened the scoring to put St. Killian’s girls into a swift 1-0 lead, tucking away a lovely deflection after some early-game industry from Alannah McCoole set the tone for a controlled display of power, speed, and accuracy.
Anja Mackenzie, Aifric Doherty, and Andrea Birch Alonso bulldozing through midfield looking for their mobile forward units – “The Ellas”, (Simon Cowell take note) running dangerous lines all game and wise to the slightest display of indecision on the part of the EGS defence. Ella Fahey and Grace Curtin having the game of their lives as two more in quick succession battered the backboard to leave EGS reeling by the halftime break. After a quiet team chat in the break to reassert goals for the 2nd half of the game the girls went back out full of confidence that a maiden cup win was within their grasp.
Somewhere along the way the spirit of the EGS seniors has broken and the second half resumed just as brightly – St. Kilian’s running in 2 more goals from Ella Cullivan and Anja Mackenzie in the opening 10 mins before junior captain Alannah McCoole took her her share of the spoils with a trademark mazy solo run to walk the ball into the goal from 40 metres out. Maite Jacoby, Elsa Paraskevas, and Lena Muzellec shutting the door at the rear and warding Maria Carthy’s goal with aplomb.
Job done, the girls could move the ball around with little pressure and enjoy some intricate passing lines which brought a long overdue smile to the coaching team. Captain Alana Brennan remarking at the final whistle that her 5 year wait for a Kilians cup win was over and she didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
The bus back was a merry affair with DJ Prehn keeping the passengers (and driver) entertained before and after the obligatory refueling stop. All in all – a mixed day out but a day filled with camaraderie and support and friendship “in the field” – which is why we do it.
St. Kilian’s Hockey Coach