BY DENIS HURLEY
IT was a second successive women’s Irish Hockey Trophy title for Bandon as they overcame Galway in a shootout at Belfield on Sunday.
Last year, Bandon triumphed on penalty strokes after finishing level with Avoca and this time round it was again a tense finish as they drew 2-2 with their Connacht opponents. Following a change of rule, it was a shootout whereby a player has eight seconds to score having started 25m from goal. With the teams level at 2-2 after five goes each and 3-3 after ten, Antonia Rabe was the heroine for Bandon as she scored in the 12th round after Galway had missed.
Coach David Buttimer was delighted with the victory, after a game in which the West Cork side didn’t perform to their optimum.
‘Galway probably played to their maximum, but we were a bit off-colour,’ he said.
‘We fell behind and it was a bit untidy but we had gone ahead before half-time with goals from Rachel Desmond and Ciara McCarthy.
That was our best period of the game but in the second half Galway were able to get back into it and level. It was dramatic at times, there were yellow cards on both sides and we were battling in our own half with 10 players at the end.’
After three shuttles each in the shootout, Bandon were 2-0 up and seemingly coasting, leaving Galway with no margin for error in the remaining two. They managed to score both of those though, with Bandon missing twice and the competition went to sudden death.
Unlike in soccer, the same five players are used again, albeit not in the same order (the other six players would have to partake if it went beyond a third full series of five) but goals were harder to come by and Bandon had goalkeeper Emma White in fantastic form, making what Buttimer called ‘unbelievable saves’.
‘She really kept us in it,’ he said, ‘and then when we had to score to stay in it, Rachel Nyhan scored hers. Both teams missed their 11th shuttle and then Antonia got what proved to be the winner, her second time scoring in the shooutout.’
Among Bandon’s stars on the day were Jenny Buttimer and sisters Rachel and Katie Desmond, whose brother Kerry was helping Bandon RFC to a Munster Junior Cup semi-final victory over Clonmel while the hockey game was ongoing, making it a very memorable day for the family.
Bandon panel: Emma White, Antonia Rabe, Ciara McCarthy, Eimear McCarthy, Rachel Desmond, Jenny Buttimer, Eva Murphy, Valerie Buttimer, Stephanie Peters, Lily Carey, Kate Desmond, Amy Buttimer, Victoria Burns, Jessica Kingston, Rachelle Nyhan, Alex Fleming, Pamela Forde, Oriel Perrott, Jane O’Higgins, Moira Barrett, Philippa Deane, Aishling O’Leary, Emer O’Driscoll, Jen Barry.