The 4th season of the NILL kicked off with a bang this Tuesday with three hotly contested games. With a number of new players being added to draft, expectations were high for some quality lacrosse on opening night.
The first game saw the Darkside avenging their performance of last year by taking an early lead of 4-0, with new recruits Cillian Murphy and Drew Wichmann providing strong leadership on the field. A late goal from Jake Morris in the first half broke the duck egg for Thunder, giving the reigning champions of the NILL the morale boost they needed to stage a comeback. Thunder fought hard, with Tadhg Bolger and Matt Doncel stepping up to tallying 6 goals between them to get their team back in the game. However, Thunder’s rally was unable to overcome Darkside’s big guns leading to a tense 9-8 finish. An impressive first impression was made by NILL rookie Darious Lacey, who got his first goal of the season in the later stages of the game for the Darkside.
Thunder faced off against the Stormtroopers for the second game of the night, and came out swinging taking a 4-2 lead by half time. Mike “Windshield Wiper” Kennedy showed everybody he’s still got it, scoring Troopers’ only 2 goals of the first half and providing the leadership and composure to keep the Troopers in the game. Bolger added flare at the start of the second half with an impressive goal from the back of his stick off the face, but unfortunately for Thunder this wasn’t enough. A 5 goal run from Ciarán Boylan, with Kennedy putting the icing on the cake by scoring 2 more goals late in the half, Stormtroopers emerged victorious, 9-6.
The last game of the night turned out to be a low scoring nail-biter between the Stormtroopers and Darkside. Both team’s defence was stellar, and with Aidan “Stretch” Marshall and Colm “The Wall” Murphy making big saves throughout the game, shooters from either side where having a hard time trying to break through. With both squads trading tit for tat, and Mike Kennedy continuing his big night tallying all of the Troopers’ goals in the first half, the score was 4-4 with 2 minutes in the game. A turnover and good transition play lead to Boylan putting one in the back of the net to make it 5-4 Troopers. Darkside were quick to answer, with an impressive individual effort from Cillian Murphy bringing his team level in the closing moments of the game. Another fast paced turnover lead to Boylan having one last shot at making it Troopers’ day, but Stretch Marshall showed he was able to handle the heat, deflecting the shot from close range. The game ended 5-5, with a rivalry that will surely grow as the league goes on.
The league table currently stands at:
Stormtroopers – 4
Darkside – 4
Thunder – 0
The next games will be held January 20th, 8-10pm in Loughlinstown Leisure Centre. Spectators are always welcome. See you then!