By Ciarán Boylan, NILL Commissioner
The penultimate fifth instalment of the NILL continued the growing intensity and rivalry between teams over the past number of weeks. With offenses finding their flow in playing together, this week saw big numbers being put on the scoreboard, as well as some nail biting finishes.
The first game saw the first and second placed Stormtroopers and Darkside face off against one another. Late draft to the Darkside Ger Harris had a stand out game, corralling groundballs following shots to give the Darkside long sustained possessions, on top of scoring a hat trick for his side. Strong teamwork from Darkside saw all members of their squad getting on the board, with continued strong leadership and chemistry between Wichmann and Murphy. Troopers on the other hand couldn’t get it going, with their big offensive threats being well contained by Darkside’s defence. Discipline became an issue for the Troopers in their frustration, leading to numerous penalties against the side. Quinn, Bonagee and Kennedy managed to breakthrough this barrier to get on the scoresheet, but it wasn’t enough, leading to a 9-3 finish in favour of Darkside.
Thunder, keen to come back from the two losses of the previous week came out firing on all cylinders against Darkside in the second game of the night. Big nights from Bolger and Morris, with the duo becoming a force to be reckoned with, put up 8 goals between them. Quality as well as quantity was shown by Thunder with an impressive wrap around diving goal from Bolger and some fancy footwork from Morris. Players for Darkside continued with their hot hands however with fast ball movement leading to goals coming from Nolan, Murphy and Wichmann. Smart play by Thunder to run out the clock, taking the lead with a goal from Morris with two minutes left to play, led to a 9-8 finish.
Thunder, carrying the momentum from the previous game, brought the fight to the battered Stormtoopers for the final game of the night. Two quick tallies from Bolger made it seem like the game was going to take a similar form to the first game of the night, with Troopers being unable to get the ball rolling on offense. Bonagee scored off a reliable left to right sweep to get Troopers on the board, followed by a transition goal from Boylan to get Troopers’ heads up. With a fresh ball game at 3-3 at the half, the atmosphere was tense with both teams needing to win to be in contention to win the league. Strong defensive stands from both teams led to a low scoring second half, with both teams trying for quick breakaway goals at every opportunity. An impressive tennis swing from O’Brien lead to an impressive one handed goal, with another flashy goal being scored by Kennedy following a strip and feed from Boylan. With the score line becoming level with 3 minutes to play, both teams began playing fast and loose putting it all on the line. A transition play from Kennedy to Boylan led to a Troopers lead with 1:31 left on the clock. Thunder won possession from the face, but strong goal tending from Colm Murphy and aggressive defence from Troopers led to a 6-5 win for the Stormtroopers.
This leaves the standings at:
Personal player stats may be found here:
Join us next week for the final of the NILL!