Sullivan Upper’s chances of lifting the Kate Russell Cup are all but over after a bad day at the office in Galway yesterday as they fell to defeat in both their opening matches.
The Senior Schools’ Cup holders now are almost certain to be playing off for the minor placings today with two games to follow.
Yesterday they opened with a 6-2 defeat by Crescent Comprehensive and then went down 4-2 to Kilkenny College.
Aebhinn Bourke stole the show with a four-goal haul for Crescent with Emma Hill and team captain Zara Malseed replying for the Holywood outfit.
Amy Rothwell and vice-captain Caitlin Young got the goals in the second game as Sullivan finished the first day’s action without a point.
Now, the Ulster champions go into today’s games against Salerno, of Connacht, and Dublin side St Gerard’s realistically playing for pride only in their first appearance in the competition as outright winners of the domestic trophy.
Meanwhile, the Ulster Elks are flying back Canadian star Stephanie Jameson for Sunday’s Irish Senior Cup final clash with Hermes in Dublin.
She will jet in on a direct flight from Toronto tomorrow after being granted leave of absence from a new job in her homeland.
“Steph will be tired, I am sure, but a tired Steph is better than no Steph at all,” said Elks and Ireland midfielder Shirley McCay.
McCay experienced ecstasy at the weekend as a key member of the Ireland squad which won the gold medals at the World League 2 tournament in Dublin.
On Sunday she’ll be hoping to have a similar feeling after she lines out for the Elks against Hermes at the same venue.
But McCay also knows all about the agony of losing in important competitions as one of just a handful of survivors from the Jordanstown side that was defeated by UCD in the 2009 Irish Senior Cup semi final.
The Omagh native then headed south to join Old Alex for four seasons before returning to the Elks at the start of the new campaign.
McCay didn’t have much success against Hermes when based in Dublin but she’s quietly confident that the Elks can make up for that by securing the famous trophy for the first time in the club’s history.
She was a key figure in the semi final win over Railway Union, who went into the tie as favourites to progress, only for the Elks to win after a nerve jangling penalty shoot out.
“That result certainly proved the old cliché that anything can happen in a cup game but we will be underdogs once again on Sunday and that’s understandable as they are the Leinster champions.” she insisted.
“Having lost in a semi final before, it’s not a pleasant feeling from bitter experience so, from a personal point of view, I don’t want to go through it again.
McCay knows quite a bit about Hermes from past experience, both from playing against them for Old Alex, and lining out on the same side as a couple of their players who are also in the Ireland squad.
“They are a good all round side with very few weaknesses but we like to think that we have a good squad of players as well so we are really looking forward to the challenge.” she added.
Meanwhile, Larne host Cork C of I in the semi final of the Irish Hockey Trophy at Greenbank tomorrow while Queen’s II meet Civil Service in the McConnell Shield final at Stormont.