Sunday marked the Ulster Hockey Indoor Finals Day with Ards and Cookstown winning their respective Championships.
Ards sealed the women’s title with a 9-2 win over Queen’s University, their highlight before sealing their eleventh championship.
Meanwhile Cookstown were eventual winners of the men’s section after coming out victorious in a 9-5 thriller with Annadale.
Both sides as well as Annadale (men) will now go on to represent Ulster in the All-Ireland Finals Day next Sunday at the Antrim Forum.
Queen’s University vs Ards:
The day got underway with eventual winners Ards taking on Queen’s University.
They got off to a quick start, rushing to a two-goal lead by the end of the first quarter courtesy of goals from Frankie Brown and Ellen Robinson.
Jenna McCarlie grabbed one back for Queen’s just a minute into the second quarter. That was before two more goals from Robinson made it 4-1 to Ards just before the half time break.
The third quarter was goalless but was followed by a goal fest in the final 15 minutes of the game. Amy Benson scored four goals in seven minutes to make it nine with Amy Kimber grabbing a consolation goal as it eventually finished 9-2.
Queen’s University vs Pegasus:
The University side were given a chance to bounce back when they took on Pegasus who themselves were returning to the indoor game after an almost 30-year absence.
The game was tight throughout with both sides having chances to take the lead but were unable to find the breakthrough.
That was until Queen’s Captain Alyssa Jebb broke the deadlock with four minutes left in the final quarter. Just moments later she would double the lead from a penalty flick which she coolly converted and sent the Pegasus goalkeeper the wrong way.
There was not enough time left on the clock for Pegasus to find a way back into the game as Queen’s came out eventual winners 2-0.
Pegasus vs Ards:
The final game of the women’s section saw seasoned champions Ards taken on relative newbies Pegasus.
It was those with previous experience who took control of the game with two well worked goals from Katie Kimber and Amy Benson giving them the lead.
Benson got her second of the game and fifth of the day in the second quarter to make it 3-0 before Ellen Robinson added to her earlier tally to make it 4-0 at half-time.
Pegasus will have been much happier with their second half after the third quarter went by without a goal at either end before Katie Williamson grabbed a goal back in the final quarter.
However, there was still time for Ards to make it 5-1 as Erin Getty scored from a penalty corner in the final minute to round off the victory.
That win combined with their earlier result meant they topped the women’s league standing.
Ards now head into next Sunday’s All Ireland Semi-final knowing they will play University of Galway who qualify as champions of Connacht.
Queen’s University vs Annadale:
The men’s section got underway with Queen’s University taking on Annadale.
After a quick start to the game Annadale captain Neal Glassey was given a green card with just six minutes gone. However, it made little difference as his side would go 1-0 up before the end of the first period.
A well worked goal from Fergus Gibson would open the scoring, quickly followed by a second from David Tremlett.
Tremlett would get his second of the game from a penalty corner at the beginning of the second quarter to make it 3-0.
In the second half two goals from Spencer Pinion and one from Owen McIlKenny came either side of two Queen’s strikes.
However, goals from Captain Aidan McMahon and Adam Reddick were not enough for the University side as they came out on the wrong end of a 6-2 defeat.
Cookstown vs Belfast Harlequins:
EHYL side Cookstown got off to a flying start as they rushed to a 4-0 lead by the end of the first quarter against Belfast Harlequins with goals from Daniel Nelson, Mark Crooks, Calum Anderson and Scott McCabe.
Two penalty corner goals from Anderson and Andy Williamson extended the lead to 6-0 before Harlequins forward Chris Wilson scored from a penalty corner of his own to grab one back.
In the second half Calum Anderson proved to be a regular goal threat for the leaders. He would score another three to bring his personal tally to five and Cookstown’s lead to 9-1.
Harlequins didn’t drop their heads as Ben Alford would score another penalty corner before Alistair Kenny was on hand to convert from open play.
However, there was still time for one more Cookstown goal as Jack Haycock scored at the end of a great Cookstown move to round of a resounding 10-3 victory.
Queen’s University vs Belfast Harlequins (3rd/4th Playoff):
In the battle for third it was Harlequins who struck first with Chris Wilson adding to his goal against Cookstown with a strike in the ninth minute.
His side managed to hold on to their lead until the end of the first quarter but would be behind by half-time. An Adam Reddick penalty corner levelled before Gabriel Tenner scored from open play to make it 2-1 Queen’s.
From there the University side grew in confidence. Aidan McMahon would double their lead before two strikes from Andrew Clarke made it 5-1 and took the game beyond Harlequins reach.
Tenner would add a sixth for Queen’s as they ran out 6-1 winners and secured third place in the men’s section.
Cookstown vs Annadale (Final)
The final game of the day would decide the winner of the men’s section as Cookstown and Annadale put on a great display.
It was the Belfast side who struck first when a Neal Glassey goal opened the scoring in the sixth minute. They would add a second just three minutes later when Damid Tremlett would score an open play goal to give them a 2-0 lead at the first break.
Spencer Pinion added a third for Annadale at the beginning of the second quarter as his side looked to be in control of the match. That was until Jack Haycock scored from a penalty corner to make it 3-1 before adding his second of the game just a minute later.
Pinion and Michael Robson scored two more goals for Annadale as Haycock got a green card all in the space of a minute as the Belfast side took control of the game once more. (5-2)
However, before the end of the third quarter Andy Williamson and Scott McCabe would give Cookstown yet another lifeline as it was 5-4 going into the final quarter.
That was when Cookstown got into full flow and took control of the game.
A hat-trick from Calum Anderson as well as goals from Daniel Nelson and another from McCabe made it 9-5 as they completed a sensational turnaround to win the final and become men’s champions.
Both finalists will now compete in the All-Ireland Finals next week with Cookstown drawn against Leinster Runners-up Three Rock Rovers. Elsewhere Annadale will play the provenance champions Monkstown.