On Saturday morning Naas Ladies 1sts opened their league campaign at home to Our Lady’s. The two teams played against each other three times last season, all of which were close encounters and so Naas knew that a tough game was ahead.
Naas started strongly scoring a goal in the first ten minutes of the game, when Orla Brennan won a short corner through clever play in the circle. Sweeper Tracey Dunlop made the long journey up the pitch to take a first time strike from the corner, which resulted in the goal.
The good start did not last however and Naas allowed the Our Lady’s team to settle into the game. Our Lady’s began to get their own passing game together and won a short corner just before the half, which they converted easily. Coach Ross Harding spoke to the Naas team at half time about focusing on the basic elements of their game, particularly improving their first touch.
Naas began the second half with renewed intensity, however good attacking play by Our Lady’s led to another Our Lady’s goal early in the second half. This goal was the turning point in the game however, as following the goal Naas began to focus more on upping their own game.
A clever pass by Jo Phibbs found Kathryn Henderson on the halfway line, and Henderson began a direct run in which she beat three Our Lady’s defenders and finished with a strike on goal which found the backboard. Further good link play between Kathy Halliden from left back and Orla Brennan resulted in a third goal for Naas with about 10 minutes remaining in the second half.
Our Lady’s continued to apply pressure until the final whistle and at all times looks dangerous on the ball. Brilliant defending by Irene Gowing in the Naas circle and a number of excellent saves by goalie Niamh Roche denied Our Lady’s the equaliser.
In other Naas Hockey Club news, the u14 girls hosted a blitz on Sunday for Abbeyleix and Carlow Hockey Clubs. All the girls played extremely well and were a credit to their clubs.