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Press Release - 09/02/1997

East Antrim Hockey Club
09 February 1997

For further information, contact:
Stephen Swann
Press Release Officer - East Antrim Hockey Club
34 Carnmoney Road, Newtownabbey, BT36 6HP
078 0316 7731


The fresh breeze blowing around the Valley Leisure Centre's astroturf pitch seemed to have little effect on the 22 players from East Antrim and Ballynahinch as they fought out the first McClements Cup tie in dramatic fashion.

The same two teams met in the first round exactly one year ago with Ballynahinch winning the game by 5 goals to nil. A defensive mistake midway through the first half of this years contest let Ballynahinch open the scoring. A repeat performance was not likely, however, as East Antrim controlled the game and managed to force plenty of penalty corners. Indeed, the equalising goal, just before half-time, came from a penalty corner. Neal Hermon was on-hand to score his 7th goal of the season.

The first half ended with the teams tied at 1-1, but another error at the back let Ballynahinch take the lead once more. East Antrim put recent experiences behind them, however, and quickly went on the offensive. David Caldwell came close to equalising as did Raymond Hughes and Alan Burgess. The equaliser did come eventually from Burgess following another penalty corner.

With extra-time looming it was the Glengormley men who looked most likely to clinch victory. The game, however, ended in a 2-2 draw and 30 minutes of extra-time began. The play started were it had left off - East Antrim on the attack - and within 3 minutes Alan Murphy latched on to the end of an Aaron McDonald cross to steer the ball into the goal. Tim Browne then missed a glorious chance to extend the lead. The second period of extra time saw Burgess thinking he had scored his second of the match but the umpire ruled the goal out. Then came the body blow. A penalty stroke was awarded to Ballynahinch for a goal-keeping infringement. The scores were leveled once again.

With just minutes remaining, Ballynahinch sneaked what was to become the winning goal when sheer presence in the East Antrim goal mouth paid dividends. The match ended with the score reading East Antrim 3, Ballynahinch 4.

Team captain, Stephen Swann, said "I am very proud with the team and the way that they played today. We have been very unfortunate as far as the result is concerned, but Ballynahinch know that they have been in a contest. If we could only play with the same passion and commitment every week, our league position would be very healthy indeed."

East Antrim 2nd XI made the long journey North-West to face a strong Raphoe team in the cup. The long distance forced some of Robert Gibson's players make themselves unavailable for the journey, but the team still managed to get the result they required.

Robert Gibson led by example once more as he scored his 15th goal of the season. Adam McDonald scored the other in a 2-0 victory but also managed to earn himself a visit to the local hospital to have a head wound attended.

Gibson said after the match "It is always good to come away from Raphoe with a victory - they're a very difficult team to beat at their own ground. Hopefully the draw for the next round will be kinder to us and give us a home tie"

East Antrim 3rd XI also had a long journey when they traveled to Omagh to play their first round Strabane Cup tie. A bright start saw Chris Picken score his first goal of the season, but Omagh reacted well to the situation scoring 3 goals. Graeme Reid scored his first goal for the club when he pounced on an opportunity late in the game to give the visiting team some consolation.