Defeat to Cookstown sees Ballyclare Ladies drop into bottom half

Ballyclare Ladies' Rebecca Beattie. INNT 04-135-GR
Ballyclare Ladies' Rebecca Beattie. INNT 04-135-GR

Cookstown weighed in with two late strikes to collect the Senior League Section 1 points against Ballyclare Ladies in County Tyrone.

Saturday’s 3-1 home win leap-frogged the hosts over Caroline Darragh’s girls, who dropped into the bottom half of the table as a result, but well clear of strugglers Larne and Victorians.

“We were on the back foot for most of the first half but fared much better after the interval. Their defence was very strong and our scoring chances were limited,” said PRO Sara Coulter.

The Clare defence was stretched in the opening quarter, with Louise Holmes, Jade Purdy and Suzanne Dickey making vital clearances, while goalkeeper Coulter had to make a couple of blocks to keep the scorecard blank.

Several home penalty corners failed to produce a goal but eventually Cookstown nosed ahead from open play.

Ballyclare’s response was limited to occasional bursts down the flanks by Holmes and Kerry McLeod, while Jordan Jones’ passing and running kept the home rearguard on their toes.

During the third quarter Ballyclare forced several penalty corners and one of them produced the equaliser when Rebecca Beattie drilled Jade Purdy’s cross into the net.

The Tyrone girls regained the lead also from a corner after the initial effort had been saved. The Ballyclare girls pushed for an equaliser but were caught out by a counter-attack that produced a third goal five minutes from time.

Ballyclare Ladies: S Coulter, J Purdy, K McLeod, C McGookin, L Holmes, S Dickey, C Darragh (C), L Ashcroft, J Hanley, R Beattie, J Jones, J West, R Maybin.