The girls from Slaneyside went into the clash at the Astro Active Centre against Carlow on the back of a 6-0 away win over Tullamore.
In front of a large crowd under floodlights, it was Carlow who started the stronger and the girls in blue won a short corner inside two minutes. However good work by runner Aoife Mahon, ably assisted by defenders Sophie Gillot, Katie Sutton and Laura Smith, successfully disrupted the Carlow attack and Enniscorthy were able to clear their lines. The initial stages of the half saw the visiting side in the ascendant but they were unable to trouble Alice Medcalf in the Enniscorthy side's goal. Midfielders Ciara Kelly, Eve Furlong and defender Orla May Culhane worked hard to defend the Carlow attacks. Instead it was Enniscorthy who created the first real chance of the game, Aoife Mernagh shooting wide after seven minutes. The remainder of the half saw a real ding-dong battle develop, with both sides moving the ball up the pitch with purpose and conviction. Niamh Ogilvie and Eimear Doyle were introduced in attack and with Elaine Quigley up front they started to cause Carlow problems. Carlow's second short corner of the half came from a defensive error following an Enniscorthy hit-out, but again the back line stood firm. On 15 minutes Enniscorthy finally found the Carlow net, Niamh Ogilvie goaling following a scramble deep inside their opponent's semi- circle.
Susannah Doyle was introduced in midfield and Eabha Farell brought on in defence and they helped to keep the score line 1-0 at the break. But Carlow looked to have taken more from their team talk, as the first seven minutes of the new half saw the Enniscorthy defence put under severe pressure. The Carlow attack earned two short corners and separately shot two wides in this spell. The door creaked, but did not open. Alice Medcalf's save at point- blank range was, perhaps, the turning point of the game and provided a tremendous boost for Enniscorthy players and supporters alike. The siege was lifted, Riodhna Hourihane was introduced and once more the Enniscorthy girls took the game to their opponents
The sucker punch for Carlow arrived on 36 minutes; Ciara Kelly broke up the right side of midfield, then spotted Elaine Quigley diagonally to her left, who buried the ball into the top left corner. There was more drama left to come, as a mix- up in the Enniscorthy goalmouth finally earned Carlow the goal they craved. Alan Smith's side went in search of the winner immediately, but a drive up the field resulted in the ball going narrowly wide. With just five minutes left on the clock Hannah Sweeney made it 3-1, nicking the ball in at the far post after a cross from the right of the posts by Niamh Ogilvie. That proved to be the winner, and there were jubilant scenes under the rain at the final whistle.
This was an outstanding achievement for this Enniscorthy team, as it was comprised of sixth class and first year girls while most of their opponents would have girls that are in second year, many of whom also have schools hockey experience. Meaning the future is bright for Enniscorthy Hockey Club!
Enniscorthy squad: Alice Medcalf (gk), Katie Sutton, Sophie Gillot, Aoife Mahon, Orla May Culhane, Laura Smith (c), Eve Furlong, Ciara Kelly, Hannah Sweeney, Elaine Quigley (vc) Mernagh, Eimear Doyle, Niamh Oglivie, Susannah Doyle, Eabha Farell, Riodhna Hourihane.
Coaches: Alan Smith, Mary Ogilvie, Anne Shore
Click here to see photos from the game