By Ciarán Boylan, NILL Commissioner
The final night of the NILL saw big hits, spectacular goals and some hard fought competition from each team to find their place within the pecking order. Each game was hard fought, with all teams bringing their best to the last night of the league.
The opening game saw 3rd ranked Thunder face off against the 1st place Stormtroopers. Stormtroopers took an early lead, and tried to refine a strong, controlled defensive game for the game to follow. The half saw Troopers up 3-1, with goals from Kennedy and Rushe. Thunder weren’t finished however, with O’Brien and Morris scoring a goal a-piece to make it a level game. A solid individual effort from Bonagee Scanlon saw Troopers hold on for a 4-3 victory.
The second game saw the top place Troopers play Darkside, their 2nd place rival for the league. The Darkside leapt to an impressive lead early in the game, with quick transition play from Wichmann and Murphy keeping the game at a fast pace. Troopers were unable to gel offensively, and were only able to break through once in the first half, with a goal from Scanlon from a feed from Boylan, to the Darkside’s 5. Frustrations came to bear in the second half, with physical defence being played by both sides. Darkside continued their big night with goals from Wichmann, Murphy and Nolan. Scanlon tried to make a comeback for Troopers, and tallied 2 late in the second half, but was unable to overcome the deficit for an 8-3 finish to Darkside.
Due to standings before the final night, the winner of the league was riding on the last game of the evening. Thunder, though they were now out of the running due to their loss earlier in the night, played a crucial role in deciding the winner of the league; if they won, Troopers would be crowned champions, if they lost, Darkside would reign supreme.
Wanting to avenge their loss of earlier in the night, Thunder came out swinging with a quick hat trick from Morris to get the cogs turning for Thunder. Wichmann continued his outstanding night tallying another 4 points in the first half alone. Strong control of possession from Thunder with wins from the face off let them set the pace of the game. The teams traded tit for tat, with Wichmann taking Darkside on his back in their championship attempt. Impressive rebound goals from O’Brien led to the teams being level with 2 minutes left to play. Darkside were holding out for the last play of the game, when Thunder began to press out aggressively looking for the ball. Aidan ‘AK47’ Kelly, holding on to the ball on offence managed to exploit this reckless play, busting through a double team and sticking one top right with less than a minute to go. This turned out to be the winning goal, with Darkside holding on for a 9-8 victory over Thunder, placing first in the league.
As commissioner, I’d like to wish a big congratulations to Darkside on achieving their first NILL trophy in 3 years. A big thank you is also owed to Colm “The Wall” Murphy and Aidan “Stretch” Marshall for standing strong in nets the 7 nights of the league.
The left the final stands at:
The final stats for the league can be found here:
Thanks again to everybody that participated! Watch this space for more info on box lacrosse taking place in the coming weeks!
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