Ulster Elks lifted the Legacy Wealth Management Premiership title as they beat Ballymoney 3-1.
Joel Cathcart’s side had sealed the title last week, but were awarded the trophy prior to the match.
Speaking on their title win the coach said:
“Obviously we are delighted it’s been a long journey since September and we are delighted to finally get over the finish line, but especially with a few games to go.”
Whilst he also has faith in his side going into next season:
“We have the EY2 semi final in April so our target is to win that and hopefully get into EY1, those were our two targets going into the season and to achieve both would be brilliant.”
The Champions got off to a flying start as they took the lead with just three minutes gone.
A brilliantly worked penalty-corner made its way through to Serena Barr who shot first time from close range and found the bottom corner.
Barr almost made it two from another corner five minutes later as she once again found herself free in the circle, but this time her effort was well blocked by the defender.
As the quarter went on Ballymoney began to put the home defence under pressure, but without challenging goalkeeper Gemma Ferguson and the sides went into the break at 1-0.
The University side started the second period back on top with Zahra Lowry running through the visiting defence before sending her reverse effort wide of the far post.
With 10 minutes to go before half time Ballymoney won their first penalty corner of the game, but saw their effort charged down by a well placed defender.
As the half came to a close Cathcart’s side continued to look a threat from set-plays but were unable to capitalise with the the score at the break remaining 1-0.
Elks could have doubled their lead at the beginning of the second half when Bethany Scott beat several defenders before seeing her effort cleared off the line by Ballymoney defender Lauren Steen.
Four minutes into the half the students were left wondering how they didn’t score as Kirsty McLarnon, Alex Speers and Bethany Scott all saw efforts saved by goalkeeper Kathryn McCurdy.
Before long it was two as Elks doubled their lead from another short corner. Charlotte Beggs saw her initial shot saved but her rebound effort was too much for McCrudy as she found the top corner.
With 15 minutes of the game remaining it was 3-0 as Alex Speers was on hand as her sliding effort deflected a short corner goalwards and beat McCurdy in goal to put the game beyond doubt.
A resilient Ballymoney had their best period of the game in the latter stages of the fourth period and soon had a goal for their efforts.
From a free hit they worked it into the circle before a low but hard strike from Nikki Parke made its way past Elks goalkeeper Gemma Ferguson to make it 3-1 at full-time.
Next up for the Champions is Saturday’s home game against Lurgan, who have themselves guaranteed second place this season.