Champions Larkfield are tipped to double up against Graduates

Premier League champions Larkfield are firm favourites to complete their second domestic double in three seasons when they take on Graduates in this afternoon's Senior Cup final at Lisburn Racquets (3.30pm).

By The Newsroom
Friday, 22nd April 2016, 7:51 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd April 2016, 8:54 pm

Lisburn-based Larkfield retained their Premier League title last month having gone through the entire campaign with a 100 percent record for the first time.

Although Larkfield went without a trophy for four years following their double of 2010, they have recently established dominance over the traditional Belfast Big Two in reeling off a hat-trick of title triumphs.

Their powerful all-international line-up recorded comprehensive victories in doing the double over both Belfast Ladies and Graduates in emphatic fashion this season.

Denise Prue’s side slammed understrength Grads 88-27 with the eldest two of their three Bowman sisters, Lisa and Kyla, sharing all the goals between them.

Subsequently beating Belfast Ladies 100-51 was a record-breaking result and Larkfield kept up the momentum by blitzing Banbridge 103-16 in their first fixture of 2016.

In the three Bowmans, including goalkeeper Jenna, and Deborah McCarthy, Larkfield have experienced, physically imposing pairings in both the defensive and attacking circles.

World-class centre Caroline O’Hanlon, well known for her Armagh gaelic exploits, is flanked by fellow All Star Neamh Woods from Tyrone and Down woman Laura Mason.

Larkfield possess decent depth beyond that strong starting seven with their bench back-up including Kirsty McCammon, a member of Northern Ireland’s Nations Cup winning squad in Singapore last December.

The Cup final favourites have very established leaders on and off the court with the incomparable Prue having been at the coaching helm for a quarter of a century and O’Hanlon in her ninth season as club captain.

Graduates reached today’s final by avenging last season’s decider defeat at the hands of Belfast Ladies while Larkfield eased past Lisburn rivals Laganside in the other semi-final clash.

The senior showpiece is the culmination of a whole day of finals at all levels including a clash between the second string sides from Larkfield and Grads.