Newry 1's 2-1 Campbellians 1's

Newry hosted Campbellians on Saturday on the back of their great win against North Down to secure a place in the final of the Linden Cup on New Years Day. Campbellians had been somewhat of a bogey team for Newry in recent years, however the home-side were determined to rectify this and keep their great start to the season going.

From the start it was obvious Newry were the better team, pinning Campbellians in their own half for long periods. However Newry had an early knock back when centre back Neil Liggett when making a challenge turned his ankle and could not continue.

Newry continued to press forward and were eventually rewarded when Kyle McCombe slotted home from near the flick spot after good link up play between Robert Irwin and Colin McKnight. McKnight soon got in on the scoring too when he rifled home a low hard drive from the top of the circle to give new a two goal lead.

Even though Newry had a comfortable lead they were not playing their normal flowing hockey which we had become custom to seeing so far this season. Their play was disjointed and their touch was deserting them in-front of goal.

Campbellians got one back through a short corner to put some pressure back on Newry before the half. Newry should have went in at half time with their two goal lead regained when Richard Nummy slotted home. As the ball was hit the umpires blew for half time with the whistle still going as the ball hit the backboard but was disallowed.

Campbellians were totally dominated in the second period, their were rarely out of their own half with any great purpose, indeed Newry keeper Robin Hanlon did not have a save to make in the second half. Newry peppered the Campbellians circle with crosses and shots but they found the away keeper in great form to deny John Taylor, Kyle McCombe and Robert Irwin on a number of occasions.

Newry travel to league leaders North Down next Saturday in a must win game if they wish to reign in their lead.

Team: R. Hanlon, N. Liggett, N. McKnight, N. Davenport, C. Henning, J. Taylor, C. McKnight, D. England, K. McCombe, R. Irwin, A. Gilmer, R. Nummy, D. Andrews, K. Mcwilliams, J. Greer

Newry 2's 2-1 Instonians 2's

A fired up Newry 2nds took the fight to Instonians 2nds at the Belfast road and were rewarded with a 2-1 win that their efforts more than deserved. This takes their run to three unbeaten with a rare and valuable two wins on the bounce in Junior 1.

Before the match the teams, umpires and spectators impeccably observed a minutes silence in memory of the fallen. The Newry men seemed particularly inspired by this reflection on the bravery and courage of those who gave their lives for our freedom and the atmosphere in the pre-match huddle was as highly charged as any this correspondent can recall.

Home side Newry went screaming out of the blocks with a sense of purpose and belief gained from two great results on the bounce -captains Scott and Adams naming an unchanged starting line up from last week's win at Kilkeel. . The general play and confidence on the ball was good and while Inst did mount attacks down the wings the Newry defence looked comfortable in and around their own penalty area. Distribution from the back was working well while balls to the wings were again finding the pacey front line in space. Both teams had short corners in the first half but there were to be no goals. Newry changed ends the happier outfit as their strong squad of 14 looked like it would prove crucial against the bare 11 of Inst.

As the second half begun the Newry game plan to tire the Inst legs and then capitalise late on seemed to be going well but however from the first Inst attack of the second half Newry found themselves 1 nil down - keeper Glass beaten by a low shot after a quick counter caught the Newry defence napping. The sense of deja vu was all too apparent as Newry reflected on a killer home defeat to Inst last season to an almost identical goal against the run of play in a game they totally dominated. 

McWilliams who had been rusty in the first half picked the ball up straight from the restart to launch the first in wave after wave of Newry attacks. There was relentless pressure on the Inst defence and something had to give - a shot was blocked by an Inst foot on the line and McWilliams stepped up to convert the penalty stroke - he will score better strokes - the keeper almost reaching the shot to his left- but in terms of importance this one was right up there. 1 each, game on.

With experienced McGuffin on for the tireless Roadruner Blakely up top, Dynamo-D Liggett replacing the elusive and skilful Foster and calm head Gregg replacing the rapidly developing talent Baird Newry continued to press and create chances. The winner came with 10 minutes to go as weight of numbers told in the D and Liggett drove home from close range with Andrews also well placed to strike if required.

Inst largely threw caution to the wind and their direct play gave them some encouragement late on as tackles from Scott, Gregg, Henning, Adams and Barlow were all required with Newry still looking to attack and almost getting caught on the break on several occasions. McGuffin gave a lesson on running the click down with possession in and around the corner flags and with a contender for ball of the day from Steiner- the others from McCafferty and Barlow to- was unlucky not to connect with an audacious volleyed attempt.

The close of the match was marred by some clashes between players with neither team covering themselves in glory and Scott reading the riot act to his players after the game. No repeat will be tolerated and Newry were lucky that their indiscipline didn't cost them two points late on while both teams were lucky to finish with 11 men on the pitch. This left an unfortunate bitter after-taste to what was a sweet and vital victory.

Newry now sit on ten points and for the first time in many seasons can reasonably refer to themselves as a mid-table team at this level. The first aim is to always to avoid relegation but the opportunity for a top-half finish is there for this outfit.

Team: J. Glass, A. Henning, B. Scott, A,Baird, D. Barlow, A. Foster, S .McCafferty, D. Andrews, W. Adams, J McWilliams, Blakely. Subs D. Liggett, J. Gregg, N. McGuffin

Cookstown 4's 0-2 Newry 3's

After a run of unlucky results for the men in red, it was time for Newry's captain Glyn Elias to ring out the changes but this was never going to be an easy game travelling to Cookstown for a 4pm game. Newry started off well and were straight on the attack with some great skills from returning Alan Mcminn who produced a great across into the circle putting the ball on a plate for James Niblock who had an open net but managed to fire wide when it looked easier to score than miss. 

For the next 20mins it was chance after chance for Newry and the final touch was just evading the strikers. A great piece of hockey invloving John Lawson, Alan Mcminn and Mervyn McCaigue resulted in Newry's first goal with McCaigue finishing off the sweeping move and leading Newry in at half time one goal the better.

The second half started in a differently with Cookstown coming right back into the game with everything going through veteran M.Sloan. However this pressure was dealt with quite comfortably by the back five of Newry as they easily tackled,blocked and swept away everything Cookstown had in their drawer!!! 

This bit of pressure soon passed and Newry began to play some excellent hockey. And with Newry holding on to the ball for large periods It seemed only a matter of time before they increased their lead. It soon arrived when a move involving most of the team right from the defence to the forwards resulted in McCaigue firing a shot in on goal only for a helpless Cookstown defender to deflect it past his own keeper.

Cookstown did come back fighting but to no avail as Newry held on for a quite comfortable 2nil victory.

Team: P.Elmore, J.Lawson, D.Sterritt, I.McNeill, K.Best, A.McMinn, S. Garvey, D. Lawson, M.McCaigue, G.Elias, J.Niblock, Subs; M. McCullough and P. Moffet.

Hollywood Ladies 4-1 Newry Ladies

On Saturday, 9th November, Newry Olympic Hockey Ladies 1st XI played Holywood 1st XI Ladies away at Bangor Omniplex at 2.30 p.m.. From the whistle, Newry were on the attack keeping possession of the ball and dominating the play during the first twenty minutes. Newry were awarded two short corners but were unable to finish. Holywood came back at Newry and scored from a deflection 25minutes in, Holywood were one up at half-time.

 At the beginning of the second half Newry were all over Holywood and equalised within fifteen minutes with Aimee Magowan scoring from the right wing. Holywood retaliated and scored again from a short corner. Newry kept continuous pressure on Holywood but unfortunately no equaliser came. With Newry pressing for this equalising goal they started to get caught out on the counter attack Hollywood scored 2 goals in the last 10 minutes to put the game to bed with a 4 -1 victory however the scoreline did not reflect the way the game went.

Team: C Waddell (goals) D L Inns (Captain) N Burns, A Gamble, C Gamble, D Mc Minn, L Ervine, J Cochrane, G Mc Loughlin, L Simpson, A Magowan, G Davidson, L Girvan and K Baird

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