The second Gameday of the 2015 Irish Lacrosse League season took place on Saturday, the 14th February at University College Dublin. The Dublin Avengers, the league leaders after the first Gameday, had a bye, so it was left to the other clubs to battle for top spot.
In the first match, UCD made their season debut against a Dublin Bay Prawns side who had squeezed a narrow victory in the first Gameday. In the last encounter between the two, the university side were worthy winners on a scoreline of 5-1 in the final of the Newtownards Cup. The match-up gave the Prawns an opportunity to gain revenge for that and many similar defeats over the previous two seasons.
And it seemed that revenge was firmly on the minds of the Prawns team in the early exchanges. On the opening face-off, Tadhg Bolger secured possession for the Prawns, who calmly possessed the ball for over a minute, before an outside shot from Bolger saw the back of the UCD net bulging. Four minutes later, the advantage was doubled when Martin Scanlon’s fake allowed him time to calmly finish. However, that was to be the end of the scoring for the first half as UCD gained a foothold in proceedings. Both defences did wonderful jobs in protecting their goalies and ensuring that no offense managed to get an uncontested shot off.
UCD finally registered their first goal of the season early in the third quarter when Ciaran Boylan continued his fine scoring form from the NILL to the field equivalent off a pass from Sean O’Shaughnessy. The goal heaped further pressure on the Prawns, who were getting visibly frustrated at their own inability to create chances. This frustration was somewhat eased by a clever piece of play from Scanlon, who caught the UCD goalie unawares on a clear. Coming from behind the cage, he knocked the ball out of the goalie’s stick, picked up the loose ball and managed to finish past a helpless O’Shaughnessy on the goal line. This was followed by a fast break goal by Scanlon off a pass from Cillian Murphy, leaving the score at 4-1. However, a goal by Cian Rushe off a second O’Shaughnessy assist set up a tense final quarter.
With the momentum of the late third quarter goal behind the team, the university team dominated the first fifteen minutes of the final quarter. A third goal arrived with fourteen minutes to play, with UCD captain Eoin Parsons setting up a second goal for Boylan. In search of an equaliser, the UCD team pummelled the Prawns goal with efforts but through a combination of solid defensive play and impressive stops by goalie Paul Murran, the hosts were kept at bay for the most part. The dam was eventually breached with five minutes to play by an impressive solo effort from O’Shaughnessy. Picking off a Prawn’s pass at the midfield line, he ran down the field relatively unchallenged to tie the game. Both sides created opportunities in a breathtaking final five minutes with both goalies to the fore. After a final onslaught involving multiple shots, clever ball movement by the Prawns saw Mark Colgan free on the crease to finish with his signature calmness and send the Prawns team into ecstasy.
Final score: Dublin Bay Prawns 5 – UCD 4
Prawns: Martin Scanlon (3 G), Tadhg Bolger (1 G), Mark Colgan (1 G), Cillian Murphy (2 A)
UCD: Ciaran Boylan (2 G), Sean O’Shaughnessy (1 G, 2 A), Cian Rushe (1 G), Eoin Parsons (1 A)
This encounter matched two teams who suffered contrasting defeats in the first Gameday. However, for large parts of the first three quarters, there was little to separate the sides. However, this wasn’t reflected in the final scoreline after a free-scoring final quarter.
After eight minutes, the Galway side had established a three goal lead, with individual scores from Jake Hobby Royle, Ciaran Conroy and Dylan Landy. Landy continued to contribute with a further assist and goal in the first half, leaving the score 5-0 at half time.
The third quarter saw the QUB outfit gain more possession and create a few opportunities of their own. A great long pole effort from Andy Gordon, returning to his home town team, was unluckily ruled out for a technical infraction. A second goal from Conroy and one from Chris Clarkson saw the lead extended to seven by the end of the quarter.
The floodgates opened in the final quarter with the Galway side scoring a further nine goals. Stephen Lee-Cheong top-scored in the final quarter with three goals and an assist. Despite the avalanche, a special mention must go to QUB goalie John McKeague who made some exceptional saves particularly with his feet throughout the game. A deserved consolation goal was scored by Gavin Donaldson, raising one of the loudest cheers of the day.
Final score: Galway 16 – QUB 1
Galway: Dylan Landy (3 G 1 A), Daniel Hynes (3 G 1 A), Stephen Lee-Cheong (3 G, 1A), Jake Hobby Royle (3 G), Ciaran Conroy (2 G), Chris Clarkson (2 G), Ryan Doran (1 A)
QUB: Gavin Donaldson (1 G)
ILL Men’s Standings
|Teams||P||W||D||L||Bonus Points||Total Points|
|Dublin Bay Prawns||2||2||0||0||0||8|
Individual player stats can be found here: http://goo.gl/rmS4eu.
The next round of matches takes place in Galway on the 28th February where the home team face University College Dublin and the Dublin Avengers return to face the top-of-the-table Prawns.