Grosvenor ladies hockey club will be taking a break from their domestic duties this weekend when they travel to Galway to take on the students of NUIG in the Irish Trophy tournament.
They will be hoping that their win over the city’s other team, Galway, in the previous round will turn out to be a good omen.
And a win over Senior Two leaders Banbridge at the weekend came as a timely morale-boost for the Belfast outfit.
“This is first time the club has been entered into the Irish Trophy, so the win over Galway meant a lot and not only to the players, as demonstrated by the number of supporters who were there on the day and the amount of noise they made.” said club spokesperson Jenna Maghie.
“It was a tough draw because Galway are previous semi-finalists, but we know as a team we are capable of pushing anyone on our day.
“The match was close and heading into the last 10 minutes trailing 2-1 we knew we had our work cut out for us.
“But we weren’t daunted and knew we had the potential to get ourselves back into the game, as it had been tight throughout.
“Two well worked goals saw us come away with our first win in the competition and that meant a lot to the club.
“We know the game with NUIG is going to be another tough match as they are a good, developing side who had a great result in the previous round.
“Being a university team, we expect them to be young and fit - which we will hope to counter with our own mix of youth and experience.
“They have a big rivalry with the Galway town side that we beat in the previous round so we know they’ll be looking to get one over on their local rivals by beating us.
“Whilst we fully expect this to be a tough game.
“We know we are capable of beating anyone on our day and will go to Galway confident that we will return with a win and looking forward to where the next round will take us.
Grosvenor have had a mixed season so far in the league but the trip to Galway this weekend will give them a chance toregroup without preciuos points at stake.
“We started this season incredibly well – four straight wins took us to the top of the league – but then we hit a bit of a rough patch, which we have hopefully now got through.” Jenna added.
“It is the 60th anniversary year of the club this year and to win promotion out of Senior Two was our goal to mark that occasion.
“The league is still wide open, with teams taking points off each other on a regular basis, so it’s not a stretch to say we’re still in with a chance.
Promotion from Senior 2 is very much a short-term goal for the club, from which we will hopefully push on to make a challenge for Premier hockey.”
And they see the weekend game in Galway as perfect preparation for upcoming domestic challenges this season.
“This is the first time in recent memory Grosvenor have entered the competition so it does mean a lot to us.” Jenna continued.
“Proof of this is the fact it is not just the team heading down to play - we are bringing a good number of supporters with us.
“We have been in Senior 2 for a few years now so the opposition you play week-in week-out hasn’t changed a lot.
“This gives us the opportunity to challenge ourselves against other teams from across Ireland and see how we compare.
“It is also a great opportunity for a bit of team bonding as we all travel together and stay together the night before.
“We are looking forward to it and we can’t wait to get startd,”