Over the midterm, twenty selected members of the senior hockey squad competed in the Hockey Schools Nations Tournament in Glasgow.
At half seven on Saturday morning, the team departed Newbridge College for Belfast, sleepy-eyed but excited. After a short ferry journey the team arrived in the hotel, shared with a number of other Irish teams.
The next morning, refreshed and ready for action, Newbridge faced English side Mill Hill. Being the first match of the tournament both sides showed signs of nerves however Newbridge capitalized first with a goal scored by Jenny Kelly. Growing in confidence, Newbridge scored again courtesy of Kate Hannon with an excellent finish, one on one with the goalie. The game finished 2-0 to Newbridge however it was clear that the team would need to improve and work more as a team to progress in the tournament. After a short break Newbridge faced home side Hutchesons’ Grammar School. The match started off with both teams exchanging opportunities until Hutchesons scored to lead by a goal at halftime. Though Newbridge regrouped and pressed in the second half with a number of promising circle entries the vital goal never came and the match finished 1-0 to Hutchesons. After lunch, Newbridges’ final game of the day was against fellow Irish school, Mount Sackville. A greatly changed Newbridge side started brightly, determined to finish the day with a win. Newbridge dominated the possession but mount Sackville defended well, ensuring that two or even three players were on Rachel McMullen and Kate Hannon. An excellent piece of goalkeeping from the Mount Sackville goalie prevented Jenny Kelly from scoring just before half time. In the second half, Newbridge displayed some fantastic forward play, with the whole team linking up and beginning to play as a team rather than a group of individuals. Unfortunately, despite Newbridge winning three short corners in quick succession, the match finished 0-0. The team’s obvious disappointment was eased when the news emerged that Newbridge would go through to the quarter finals on goal difference. The team returned to the hotel and enjoyed some retail therapy after a hard day's work followed by an entertaining game of heads up.
On Sunday morning, at six o’clock, though everyone was sore and tired there was a sense of anticipation in the air for the impending quarter final against George Herriots, perceived as the weakest side in the draw. There was a real feeling that Newbridge could reach the semi finals or even beyond. After a long warm up in a nearby park, Newbridge experienced a disaster start at the hands of a capable George Herriots team. Newbridge trailed 3-0 inside the first ten minutes and tensions clearly began to rise within the team itself. It took a stern regrouping at half time to snap the team into action and remind everyone of their role within the team. Newbridge stepped up their game in the second half, none other than Rachel McMullan with two excellent goals to really galvanise the team. For the final ten minutes of the game Newbridge pressed hard, the ball hitting the post a number of times however that elusive third goal never came. Heartbroken after such a close defeat, Newbridge were forced to switch their attention to the second match of the day against Salerno, still within a chance of coming fifth in the competition. It seemed that a repeat of the first match was on the cards when Salerno scored early on. However, Newbridge refused to give up. The run of play slowly switched in the team’s favour until, finally, Newbridge’s Aimee McGrath scored with an excellent strike into the bottom corner. The stage was set for the second half and Newbridge started again with a tangible intensity and hunger to score a second goal. Again, a number of shots hit the post but even after winning two short corners it was Salerno to score next - in the final play of the game. After the final whistle, the whole team was stunned, confused how the game was let slip away.
The final match of the day was against old rivals, Kings Hospital. In the first half, despite no goals being scored, both teams battled hard, aware that it was the last game of the tournament. At halftime, both teams made significant changes however no goals were scored and so, the match finished 0-0. Playing for pride rather than ranking both teams chose five players to compete in the shoot outs. Jenny Kelly and Eleanor Walsh missed the first two opportunities but the Newbridge goalie, Hannah Begley, made an excellent save to keep Newbridge in the contest. Rachel McMullen capitalised on another King’s Hospital miss to leave Aoibhe Burke the chance of winning the match. Aoibhe spun past the Leinster goalie to score and earn Newbridge seventh place. The whole team went wild and seventh place was celebrated as if it was first. Any memories of that morning's disappointment were long forgotten and Newbridge celebrated a successful weekend of hockey at the disco that night. Rachel McMullan was chosen as the Newbridge’s player of the tournament at the award ceremony while Rainey was presented with the cup after beating fellow Northern Irish side, Banbridge in the final.
Even after a rocky ferry journey home it must be said that the weekend was a massive success not only for the senior hockey team but for Newbridge College hockey itself. The future of Newbridge College hockey looks very bright. A big thank you must be said to our coaches Gavin Groves and Janis Kelly as well as to Ms. Lenehan and Ms Smyth for their support and guidance over the weekend.
Other hockey Results: Senior a 0 St Andrew’s 5; Minor B 1 Teresians 3.
SCT League v Pres Bray
The Senior 1sts were on the road again this week in the League as they travelled to Bray to take on Pres. The College controlled the game early and a slick break down the right by Gavin Burke was followed by an offload to Paddy Ryan who dotted down between the posts. Colm Doyle put the College 7 up. Despite not having the better territory the home side hit back to tie the game up at 7 all with fifteen gone. But the College were getting to grips with the damp conditions and built phases well. Two tries from Doyle, one of which he converted, were split by a Pres. penalty and at the break the College led 19-10.
The second half started with the College adding to their dominance in possession and territory. But with all the possession, a combination of some gallant defending from the home side and some silly unforced errors and penalties from the College saw the gap stay at 9 points well into the second half. That was until the College injected some serious pace and brute strength into an attack. Having tied the Wicklow side up in the midfield a quick ball made its way out to Burke who beat the last defender to touchdown in the corner. Doyle pushed the conversion to the left of the posts. Pres. hit back with a penalty but as the clock headed towards 70 minutes the College would get the final score of the game. We grabbed five points from the back of a well worked maul from a lineout five metres out. Burke didn’t connect well with the ball and the conversion was wide. Pres. had the final possession of the game and moved the ball well in the final 2 minutes but the College defence stood strong and the game ended 29-13 to the College. Notable mentions got to Dylan Whelan, Mike Joyce, Robbie Hyland and Daithí Murphy.
Juniors v Pres Bray
Disappointing day out for Newbridge College Junior's in the league this Wednesday, as they came up short against Pres Bray. The scoreline at the final whistle read Pres Bray 13 Newbridge College 3. This 10 point gap was in no way reflective of the game with Newbridge dominating in every aspect of the game except on the scoreboard. Newbridge took the lead on 3 minutes with a penalty and spent the majority of the first half in Pres' half. Pres only drew level with a penalty of their own on the stroke of half time.
The second half played out quite similarly with Newbridge having the bulk of possession and territory but against the run of play Pres kicked a penalty with 12 minutes remaining and went on to pick up a lucky try, when a loose kick bounced up nicely for their full back.
Although the result didn't go Newbridge's way it was an excellent team performance with Jack Ryan, Oisin Halpin Jordan Nolan, Ro Burns, Dan O' Connor and man of the match Rob Scully really standing out.
This week saw the return to action of the Junior B squad at home against Pres Bray and the home team were hoping to extend their recent good form. Pres got off to the perfect start with a try in the opening minute, however it was to be their only score of the first half. Newbridge took control of the game and were back on level terms in the twelfth minute following a strong run from Alex Buckley. Three minutes later Newbridge were ahead with a try from Jack Carroll and Cian Lawlor added the extra points. Both teams cancelled each other out in the following ten minute period before Newbridge finished the half with a try from Alex Buckley on the half hour. The second half started as the first half finished with Newbridge enjoying a purple patch. During this period tries from Sean Murphy and a third from Alex Buckley sealed the win. Pres gave it their all for the last fifteen minutes and were duly rewarded for their efforts with two tries before the finish. Newbridge had a brace of their own following good forward play when Finn O Brien and Jack Higgins finished the scoring. The final score Newbridge College 41 – Pres Bray 19. Best on the day were; Jack Higgins, Ciaran Dempsey, Finn O Brien, Cian Lawlor, Eoin McDonnell, Alex Buckley and Fionn Walsh.
Inter B 12 - 12 Kilkenny
The inter Bs reversed the trend of previous matches by starting strongly in this fixture. Some solid work by Joe Minnock and Mark Denis in the rucks allowed for quick ball to played along the backs to ever dangerous Darren Keane who collected the ball on the half way line and beat 3 defenders on his way to the games 1st try. Liam Coleman scoring the conversion. Newbridge's 2nd try came from some quick thinking from out-half Max Byrne who floated a perfectly placed cross field kick to Josh Murphy who scored in the corner. Kilkenny got themselves back into the game with the pace of their centers breaking the line for their 1st try. Into the 2nd half and Kilkenny scored early to level the game at 12 all. Both teams fought hard to get the winning try but neither could break down each others defense. The game finished in a draw. The best for Newbridge were Joe Minnock, Darren Keane, Peter Leavy and Max Byrne.
The Eller As travelled to Pres Bray looking to pick up where they left off before the mid term break. Newbridge started the game strongly and opened the scoring when Adam Conneely showed excellent footwork and a good turn of pace to beat his man and score. The advantage was doubled almost immediately when David Marshall got on the end of a flowing team move involving backs and forwards. Conneely then turned provider as he danced along the touch line and chipped ahead for the supporting Andrew Rynne to touch down. The home side came more and more into the game and notched two tries of their own, firstly when their number 8 powered over off a scrum from close range and then when their flying centre outpaced the defence. This left the game well and truly in the balance at half time, with only one score between the teams. The away side reasserted their dominance at the start of the second half and an excellent carry from Diarmuid Mangan opened the space for the ball to be spun wide to Hugh Doyle who dived over. Pres came roaring back into the game and two quickfire tries brought them to within four points. The end to end battle continued and the strong running Luke Gorman tied in the defence before offloading to Daniel Silke Fetherston who powered over the line. The Bray side spent the next 5 minutes camped in the Newbridge 22, hammering away around the fringes with wave after wave of close in carriers. Excellent Newbridge defence kept them at bay, with Luke Dunleavy, Diarmuid Mangan and Zia Ahmed all putting their bodies on the line. The siege was lifted when Marshall intercepted a pass in midfield and raced away. He was hauled down just outside the 22 but good support kept the move alive. 2 phases later the Prendergasts combined to notch the games final try, with Hugh taking an excellent line onto a short pass from Sam. Sam also added the extras, taking his kicking record for the day to 6/7.
Final score Pres Bray 22 - 40 Newbridge
Under-16 A 50 Blackrock 0; Inter A 5 Kilkenny 27;
Eller B 25 Pres., Bray 5; Eller Black 26 Eller White 29.