Naas hold table toppers, Rathgar scoreless

On a sunny but bitter Saturday up at Naas Hockey club Naas ladies firsts, lying second in the league table took to the pitch to take on the team lying top of the table, Rathgar.

On a sunny but bitter Saturday up at Naas Hockey club Naas ladies firsts, lying second in the league table took to the pitch to take on the team lying top of the table, Rathgar.

Naas: 0

Rathgar: 0

Naas captain Jill Blanchfield got the day off to a good start by winning the toss. Both teams from tip off showed their intent to take all the points up for grabs.

Naas made several breaks and had some clever link up plays starting with the back line and linking with midfielders Sophie O’Hare and Jill Blanchfield who in turn set up a series of good passes to forwards Hazel Williams and Bebhinn Carey who challanged Rathgars goalkeeper to make a number of close range saves to keep the game at 0-0.

Rathgar then upped the pressure with some attacking movements down their right hand side but some great defensive work by Amy Young, Elaine Kerin, Tracy Dunlop and Kathy Halliden thwarted their attacks.

The best chance of the half fell to Naas when through sheer persistance between the midfield and forwards Jill Blanchfield secured a short corner for Naas. Hit out with pace by Irene Gowing it was hit like a train by Tracy Dunlop saved well by the Rathgar goalkeeper but the ensuing rebound was picked up by Naas eventually falling to Bebhinn Carey who from a very narrow angle nailed it into the far corner of the goal. Unfortunately this goal was to be deemed not allowed as the initial shot was high.

Second half again both teams continued to battle it out with Naas having to defend quite a bit more but under the guidance of goalkeeper Aisling Dower kept Rathgar at bay and for the entire game Naas conceded no corners.

Irene Gowing and Kathy Halliden in the Naas defense again made some excellent interceptions throughout the second half.

Schoolgirls Leah Headon and Pauline McKeown were introduced into the Naas line up and both at different stages created some lovely periods of play to help push Naas back up the pitch and menance the Rathgar defense.

Again Naas were rewarded with a short corner however on this occasion Rathgar were out very fast onto Tracy Dunlop who managed to push the ball through to Sophie in the circle but despite her best efforts the result was a hit out. Naas continued to put on pressure with several frees and long corners being awarded to them in the closing stages however the game ended as it started, 0-0.