Cookstown move closer to Ulster Premier League title

Andy McWhirter (right) scored twice for Cookstown
Andy McWhirter (right) scored twice for Cookstown
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Cookstown are looking a good bet to claim the Ulster Premier League title and the advantage that goes with it after crushing Portadown 11-3 at Edenvilla Park on Saturday.

The result leaves them level on 40 points with Kilkeel but with a game in hand after the Co Down side’s 5-1 win at North Down.

However, with a superior goal-difference it’s looking like Cookstown’s trophy to lose and, if they can do the business, they will have automatic entry into the second stage of qualifying for the EY IHL.

The league winners are exempt from the first phase and that would give the Tyrone team time to recharge their batteries before entering the play-offs.

Cookstown, of course, were relegated from the all-Ireland league last season, and they want to bounce back at the first time of asking.

Incredibly, there were 10 different scorers for Cookstown on Saturday with only Andy McWhirter bagging a brace.

Mark Stevenson also scored twice for Kilkeel in their win over North Down, with David Finlay, Luke Russell and William Annett also on target and Phil Wilson replying for North Down.

Annadale are a point behind the top two after Fergus Gibson hit a double in their 4-0 win over NICS with Ben Wallace and Rory Capper also on the scoresheet.

Luke Witherow and Alexander Tinney scored for basement side Raphoe in their surprise 2-0 win over Belfast Harlequins while Simon Todd’s double helped Mossley to an important 3-2 win over Campbellians.

Ballymoney stay top of the women’s Ulster Premier League following a 3-0 win at Portadown while champions Lurgan who are two points behind but with a game in hand crushed Banbridge 7-0.

Randalstown finished their programme with a 3-2 win over Lisnagarvey but they may not stay in second place as Queen’s have 15 points to play for and are eight behind.