Schools Cup Hockey
Omagh Academy 1st XI v Lurgan College
Wednesday, November 20, Camsie, 2.30pm
OMAGH Academy’s 1st XI hockey coach Lesley Dickson wants her players to fight fire with fire when they lock horns with reigning Ulster and All Ireland champions Lurgan College in the first round of the Schools’ Cup at Campsie on Wednesday afternoon. (2.30pm)
Having been paired with the team everyone wanted to avoid, Omagh, hopefully roarded on by vociferous home support, intend to take the game to their illustrious opponents.
Despite losing a couple of key players, a free-scoring Lurgan appear well placed to defend their schools’ crown. The Academy girls though are determined to upset the apple cart and coach Dickson insists her team will be going all out in search of a major shock.
“We had a good 8-0 win over Raphoe last weekend which was a good confidence boost for us,” said the coach.
“This is undoubtedly our biggest test. The girls have nothing to lose, so were going to go out all guns blazing with the intention of taking the game to Lurgan. That’s the best strategy, we don’t want to give them too much respect.”
Omagh go into the first round decider on the back of a promising sequence of performances and results, despite losing half a dozen regulars from last year’s squad.
The Academy team is one in transition and if they are to pull off a shock result on Wednesday afternoon a lot will depend on the performances of their skipper and Ulster representative Laura Kennedy, striker Claire McFarland, left-sided attacker Honour Nethery and influential defender Cari McKinley. Omagh have lost just once this season when going down to the highly-rated Royal School Armagh. That 4-1 defeat in many ways underlined the enormity of the task facing coach Dickson and her team.
“Armagh are very similar team to Lurgan, so the players will know what to expect. We’ll have a fair idea how they’ll set-up,” she continued.
“The day we played Armagh we showed them far too much respect. That’s the last thing we want to do against Lurgan. We are the underdogs and we have nothing to lose. That’s the way we’re looking at it. The thing is if you want to go far in the competition you have to beat the best no matter when it is. On the plus side this is a home match and we’ll have a lot of support down.”
Squad: Rachel Armstrong, Cari McKinley, Carol Fleming, Laura Kennedy(captain), Sarah Graham, Chloe Frazer, Lauren McCollum, Naomi Morton, Honour Nethery, Claire McFarland, Jodie Hood, Christine Donaghy, Naomi Duncan, Jenny Hemphill, Holly Swann, Courtney Cunningham.
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