DULHC (Dublin University Ladies Hockey Club) came head to head with league table leaders Corinthians in a thrilling Irish Senior Cup match at Santry last Saturday, with away side Corinthians coming out on top 4-0. Trinity hosted four matches that day on home turf Santry for the much anticipated Super Saturday. It was a day brimming with dedication, tenacity and team spirit.
After 70 minutes of impressive hockey, Corinthians ultimately dominated the scoreline with a 4-0 sweep over the Trinity Ladies first team. Given it was a cup match, the standard was of the highest calibre that the team has faced this season, and the significance of such prestige was obvious to players and supporters alike.
Going into the game as underdogs, Trinity was ready to play its hearts out and give the opposition an admirable encounter with the home support on its side.
“We’ve had a slow start to the season due to a major loss of senior players, having graduated and moved on. However, our new members are an exciting addition to the team, and we are going from strength to strength every week”, said a passionate Iseult Cambay, team co-captain.
A particular one to watch was Beatrice Wharton-Hood, a first year student hailing from South Africa. She has taken the club hockey world by storm, impressing with her skill and incredible ability to smoothly slot into the team after just over a month.
Earlier that morning the 3s put the first win on the board for the club, an impressive feat given the last-minute arrangement of the fixture. Carrying forward the elation of this win, the 1s were motivated to achieve similar sentiments.
The Santry microclimate is infamous for the uncertain weather, keeping everyone on his or her toes. It was therefore comforting to see the sun peeking through the clouds as a gusty wind bellowed across the turf, setting the scene for the dramatic match to come.
The whistle blew, and the first attack found itself in red, with Corinthian players steaming forward and flooding the Trinity half. A rushed strike on goal in just the mere first minutes set the tone for the rest of the match. Nevertheless, the Trinity defence held strong, and a block, transfer and runaway by Julie Ringrose pushed the play back up towards Trinity’s attacking end.
Unsurprisingly, the ominous rain clouds overhead gave way as it started to spit steadily on the crowd below. Both sides played on, unperturbed by the rain, their concentration focused on the ball swinging round the Corinthian defence from side to side as the away team desperate to find a gap in the wall of Trinity players.
A well executed reverse stick strike from Corinthian forward put the home side under pressure but came to no success as Munster’s Heather McNamara efficiently blocked and shifted the ball out of the danger zone.
Ten minutes into the game, the first short corner of the match was awarded to the Corinthians. As the team huddled to discuss the routine, tensions were high on the sideline as these penalties are often conducive to producing goal scoring opportunities.
The ball dragged to the top of the D, and a quick flick to the left presented an open shot within palpable reach. But newcomer Wharton-Hood, with her incredible speed, put her body in the way to nab the ball and carry it forward towards her goal. A brilliant display of skill that gave Trinity some much needed breathing space.
Nevertheless, just three minutes later another short corner was awarded to the away side. This time, the effective routine from a well-drilled Corinthian side put out to score the game’s first goal from a straight strike rebound.
The quarter time whistle sounded as head coach Niamh Small gathered her team for a motivational regroup and discussion of tactics. It was a slight setback for the home team, but all was not lost as Trinity came back with a fire in its belly.
An aggressive attack down the right wing prompted Trinity cheers to ring out along the sideline. Some terrific skills from Ireland international Laura Noble and a supportive attack pushed the play into the Trinity half.
All of a sudden, a misplaced pass landed the ball in the hands of Corinthian player Sophie Maleady. She effortlessly weaved through the Trinity defence and flicked the ball into the right hand corner of the home team’s goal. 2-0 to Corinthians, 25 minutes into the game.
This lead was obviously not enough for the hungry Reds as the team moved in on yet another attack, picking out an effective two-on-one with a Trinity defender. This powerful formation left Trinity outnumbered, and the ball was slotted into the back of the goal, increasing the teams lead to 3-0.
Fortunately, the relentless rain ceased at last. With the sun streaming through, the dark skies cleared, and supporters quickly emerged from their hiding and gathered on the sideline to spur on the Trinity ladies. Cheers erupted as Iseult Cambay made an incredible save in goal. This is a role she showcases with class and competence, displaying her leadership in style.
As the afternoon was drying up, sentiments within the crowd were still optimistic. “Trinity has definitely picked it up after half-time”, stated one keen supporter. Countless impressive short corner defences prevented Corinthians from adding to its goal tally.
A disagreement with the referee’s decision led to a green card being given to Corinthian player Jodie Douglas. With one player down, was this what the Trinity players needed to get back up on their feet? They took it in their stride and continued to penetrate the Corinthian defence with a few close calls towards goal.
However, just after the third quarter was underway, Corinthians showcased its talent one more time to notch a fourth goal onto the scoreboard.
The final whistle blew, and handshakes were exchanged between the team in an appreciation of the style and skill that was displayed from both sides on the Santry turf. The Ladies 1s played with outstanding grit until the very end, and the team is looking promising for the upcoming season.
Looking ahead to the remaining fixtures of the day, the atmosphere was buzzing in anticipation of the Men’s 1s match – a team that was to have a hard task of following the impressive display of hockey that afternoon.