Lurgan extend lead at top of Premier League thanks to rivals

CAPTAIN: Lurgan's Charlene Hull
CAPTAIN: Lurgan's Charlene Hull

Lurgan extended their lead at the top of the Premier League table with a 4-0 win over Randalstown earlier this week when Ballymoney were 3-1 winners over Victorians in the other top flight game.

Bethany Barr put Lurgan ahead in the first half and Zoe Hawthorne and team captain Charlene Hull added further goals after the break to complete a comfortable victory for the home team.

Ballymoney were given a tougher battle by Victorians and it was only in the last minute that the win was secured with a late goal at the Joey Dunlop Centre.

Nikke Parke gave ‘Money a dream start when she opened the scoring after just five minutes after a penalty corner move had broken down.

Kate Caithness made it 2-0 in the 25th minute but Vics, who have shown improved form this year, hit back with a Rachael McMillan set piece near the break.

The visitors had a few half chances to snatch what would have been a crucial equaliser but they couldn’t convert and Jessica Moore sealed the win in the last minute with an individual effort.

On Saturday the attention will be focussed on events in Cork where Ards travel to UCC hoping to secure the win which would propel them into the semi finals of the Irish Senior Cup.

It will a case of ‘third time lucky’ as the teams have had the two previous games postponed due to the bad weather which made travelling difficult.

The reward for the winners will be a last four meeting with Railway Union which would be a daunting prospect whoever goes through.

Ards have put their preparations for the upcoming European Indoor Challenge trip to Portugal on hold to devote all their energies to the Cup game.

If they can get their short corner routine into gear, having wasted eight out of nine last week against Queen’s, then they have every chance of progressing against the students.

In the Premier League Pegasus will be conscious of the fact they have been held to a draw on two previous occasions by tomorrow’s opponents Randalstown, once in the league and once in the Shield.

Defeat for the Ulster Elks against student rivals Queen’s would signal the end of their title chances.

With Vics having lost on Wednesday night Portadown will have a chance to move ahead on points as opposed to goal difference at the bottom when they take on Armagh.

In Senior One all roads will lead to Hillsborough for the top of the table clash between Lisnagarvey and Belfast Harlequins which should be an intriguing contest.

The outcome should go a long way towards determining which team grabs the one automatic promotion spot available and, at the moment, ‘Garvey are in pole position. Crucially though they have played a game more thah their biggest rivals and are two points worse off having been held by Cookstown a few weeks ago.