Meagher magic helps NUIG prevail in IHC decider

Women’s Irish Hockey Challenge
NUIG 4 (A Meagher 2, G O’Dwyer, R Heskin) Blackrock 1 (L Clifford)
A stunning second half performance saw NUIG seconds race to the women’s Irish Hockey Challenge title as they proved too strong for 2016 champions Blackrock at Belfield.

The quality of Gemma O’Dwyer and Alice Meagher eventually told as they transformed a 1-1 half-time scoreline into a comprehensive final total.

Early on, the Galway side penned Blackrock in their own quarter for much of the first 10 minutes only to fall behind when the Cork side snatched a penalty corner. Liz Clifford’s first up strike went flying high into the roof of the net off the first runner for a shock lead.

They also had a big chance for a second when Sarah Kiely was clean through but Ellen Duffy came off her line quickly to shut out the chance.

NUIG, though, stuck to their task and got back on terms in the 22nd minute from their fifth penalty corner. The first wave was initially repelled but Rionagh Lynch retrieved the ball out the left of the circle and centred for Gemma O’Dwyer to turn home in the centre.

They remained in the ascendancy into the second half and took the lead in breathtaking fashion when Meagher and O’Dwyer exchanged passes all the way down the left wing. The last pass left Meagher through one-on-one and she rounded Aoife O’Toole to pop in.

Rachel Heskin slammed in another from the left of the circle for 3-1 with 18 minutes to go and Meagher completed the win three minutes later with another emphatic strike that put them out of reach.

Blackrock: A O’Toole, L Clifford, G Dwyer, L Hogan, V Banks, L Mills, S Dorney, F O’Toole, H O’Connor, A-M O’Connell, S Kiely, J Kelleher, J O’Connell, C O’Toole, N Furlong, M Dwyer, A Coleman, C Randles

NUIG: E Duffy, A Donnellan, N Boland, A Butler, O Butler, M Corcoran, E Costelloe, S Donnellan, R Heskin, M Holian, A Meagher, A Moore, K Wills, R Lynch, G O’Dwyer, L Hurley, M Passmore, E Kennedy

Umpires: M Henderson, L Johnston

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