Raphoe travelled to the capital city on Saturday last to play Clontarf in the second round of the Irish Hockey Trophy, a game brought forward a week because of Clontarf having a couple of players playing in the under 16 Interpro tournament in Cork.
Raphoe, after the long journey down the road, started the game slowly and found themselves a goal down after only five minutes slack marking allowed John Mullin to shoot home from the middle of the circle.
This shook Raphoe into action and they equalised in the 14th minute when Gavin Lecky scored on the reverse stick after picking up a long pass out of defence from Rodney Bates. Raphoe then had chances to take the lead from short corners - Matthew Lecky hit the post with his first effort from Raphoe’s first short corner and the second corner was easily cleared but it was third time lucky when from their third short corner Lecky as he has done in previous weeks sent a drag flick into the top left hand corner giving the keeper no chance.
On a bouncy pitch both teams found it hard to play fluent hockey and most of the play was kept between the two 25 yard lines. Raphoe scored a third just before half time, Gavin Lecky got his second goal of the game when he collected the ball from William Kilpatrick and ran into space created by David Buchanan and fired the ball past the advancing keeper. The half time score was 3-1 to Raphoe.
Clontarf came more into the game in the second half and won a short corner shortly after the restart that Alan Meehan had to alert for as he cleared the ball off his own line. Two minutes later Clontarf won another short corner and this time Andrew Poynter made no mistake sliding in to deflect the ball home.
With Clontarf pushing forward they were leaving gaps at the back and Raphoe regained their two goal advantage midway through the half when Gavin Lecky - on a hat trick, unselfishly squared the ball across the front of goal for Keith Meehan to tap in. Clontarf again came forward and from another short corner Andrew Poynter again scored with a similar move to his first goal again sliding in to deflect home.
The game then became scrappy and George Patterson was sinbinned rather harshly when Tom Noonan fell as if hit by a sniper on the half way line (a dive that wouldn’t look out of place in the English premier league). While down to ten men Raphoe had to defend in numbers and with their backs to the wall they were fortunate not to concede when Clontarf started peppering the Raphoe circle with crosses looking for any sort of a touch and on a few occasions the ball just missed the target scraping past both posts.
At the other end Gavin Lecky went close to completing his hat trick when he went close with another reverse stick shot. Johnny Long scored Raphoe’s fifth goal ten minutes from time when he picked up George Patterson’s through ball and he took his time and placed the ball in the bottom right hand corner past the stranded keeper.
Then on the final whistle Clontarf won a short corner but it was too little too late as a combination of Alan Meehan and Johnny Rankin were on hand to clear the ball to safety and earn Raphoe passage into the third round. Man of the match for Raphoe was Gavin Lecky.
Next week Raphoe have a rearranged league fixture away to Ballynahinch with a 1.00pm push back.
Team: Johnny Rankin, Rodney Bates, Evan Lyttle, Matthew Lecky, Alan Meehan, William Kilpatrick, Ian McGonigle (Capt.), George Patterson, Keith Meehan, Gavin Lecky, Johnny Long, David Buchanan.