Queen’s technical coach Graham Quincey last night heaped praise on goalkeeper Ashley McIlroy who was instrumental in Saturday’s 2-0 Premier League win over Lisnagarvey at the Dub.
The result was enough for Queen’s to leapfrog their opponents and clinch fourth place in the table although, ironically, they are not safe from relegation such has been the closeness of the campaign so far.
McIlroy pulled off a series of stunning stops in the first half when ‘Garvey must have been wondering what they had to do to score.
‘Beat McIlroy’ is the simple answer but actually doing that proved impossible and, instead, it was Queen’s who went into the break 1-0 up.
“The only reason we weren’t behind at half time was that Ashley pulled off two saves of the highest quality when we most needed them.” said Quincey.
Coach Simon Toole, who has a high octane back room team in Kyle Lunn and Brian Waring both former ‘Garvey greats, was happy with the display if not the result.
“I thought we played pretty well in the first half but we really needed to score from at least one of our chances and, if we had, it might have been different.” he said.
With Armagh still anchored to the foot of the table after a 1-0 midweek defeat to Pegasus, they are favourites for the one automatic relegation spot.
The team that finishes second bottom will have to face a promotion-relegation play-off with the side that finishes second in Senior One.
So avoiding ninth place is the target for quite a few clubs at this stage of the season and ‘Garvey are among them and so, too, are Queen’s.
It was the hosts who took the lead in the 16th minute, as Joanne Orr scored.
The score line was rough justice on ‘Garvey who continued to force the pace only to find McIlroy in unbeatable form.
Queen’s improved immeasurably in the second half and they effectively killed the game off with a well worked set piece in the 47th minute.
Jodie Kee accepted a pass from her left, drove towards the goal line and laid the ball across the face of goal for Julie Allison who scored to make it 2-0.