THERE were more than a handful of tears as Confederates bowed out of the women’s Premier League Hockey title chase on Saturday afternoon, but coach Fiona Reith was filled with pride.
Though admitting St Pat’s deserved the 3-1 minor semi-final win at the Cooke Hockey Complex, she could not fault the effort of her players.
After the Saints had scored two goals in quick succession early in the first half, Feds was able to settle and pull it back to 2-1 at the break.
Once play resumed the Orange outfit pilled on the pressure, but was unable to find the equaliser it needed.
“We are disappointed but not disgraced. We had our chances and I think if we’d been able to capitalise on those then build the momentum again, we’d have been a chance,” Reith said.
“That we lifted [after those two goals], I think that’s a credit to the maturity of some of the more experienced girls we’ve got in the side, they were able to hold the younger girls down. The Rach Divalls the Rach Pengillys, they were just fantastic back there, they helped keep the lid on the simmering emotions.
“But I’ve got to give it to Pat’s, they held us out. Their goalie [Tracey Gunning] I thought was phenomenal today, she made some amazing saves.
“For them to be able to shut us out, we had 20 minutes there where we had them under pressure and were giving it to them, they held us, so full credit to them.”
An indication of just how far Feds has come since returning to the Premier League ranks in 2012 can easily be seen in their performances against the Saints this season.
Prior to this year, Feds had not beaten Pat’s in 10 games and in five of those, had not found the back of the net.
This season Feds beat the Saints 2-1, lost the return match 2-0 and pushed the blue and whites all the way in Saturday’s semi-final.
“We had nothing to lose and everything to gain today, the girls had done all the hard work. A few of them are disappointed, but a lot of them, they haven’t experienced the defeats of previous years,” Reith said. “We got hammered when we first came back.”