“IT’S OVER! WE HAVE WON! WE’RE GOING TO THE EYHL!” If you were following our journey through the EYHL Provincial Playoffs over the weekend – these were the magic words. The words we were all waiting and wishing to hear; the words our club has worked so hard for. Just after 5:30PM on Sunday evening, we got to say them. We can’t quite believe it.
What a difference 12 months makes. This time last year – Scottie, Freda and our gals in green n’ white stood dejected on the pitch in Rathdown as their season’s efforts and EYHL Playoffs journey ended in tears. Yesterday, they stood in that familiar post-match team huddle together again – as the Leinster Champions, having just booked a direct ticket to the national league.
It was a weekend of high-intensity hockey action to get there – five teams, four matches, one winner. Muckross started the weekend strong on Saturday morning, beating the Connacht champions NUIG 3-0 in their opening game – the goals coming from Natasha Twomey, and Yasmin Pratt on the double. A few hours of recovery and it was on to the next challenge – our provincial rivals Old Alex. The pace of the match was relentless – but after 50 minutes and a number of heart-stopping moments, it ended all square. A win and a draw for the day. Two clean sheets. A solid start.
Saturday evening was spent on recovery in the team hotel, getting good grub on board, analysing the day’s performance, and doing the homework on what was to come. Two more matches – win them both, and we’re in the EYHL. Simple as. A good night’s sleep, and a breakfast of champions – time to rise and shine.
Munster title holders, the hosts UCC, were up next. We went ahead early in the second quarter thanks to another Yasmin special, and it looked like we’d be taking the lead into half-time – until the Cork side struck back, right on the whistle. “SHINE A LIGHT.” Into the dugout. Re-group, re-focus.