On Saturday Ulster Hockey hosted a Finals Day at PlayBall with six teams being crowned as Champions.
The event ran from 11:30am to 4:30pm and saw a number of close encounters with as many as three games going all the way to penalty run-ins, whilst there were plenty of spectators throughout the course of the day.
The first game was the Women’s Minor Plate Final between South Antrim 3s and Queen’s University 5s.
Both teams went into this game as Junior 7 sides and had already met twice this season with one win each, setting this final up for a close encounter.
This time it proved to be a one way affair as QUB showed their class from start to finish. After taking an early lead the side proved too strong for their divisional rivals and recorded the biggest win of the day, as they ran out 8-0 winners in an outstanding cup final performance.
Running alongside that fixture was the Women’s Junior Cup Final between Armagh 2s and South Antrim 2s.
Both sides had similar routes to the final, but it was South Antrim who went into the game as favourites, as they played their League hockey this season in Junior 4, whilst their opposition played two divisions beneath them in Junior 6.
In one of the closest games of the day the sides couldn’t be separated, after normal time with the scores level at 1-1 penalty run-ins were required to decide a winner.
It was Armagh who held their nerve as they prevailed in the shoot-out to upset the odds and were crowned Champions of the Junior Cup.
Next it was the turn of Queen’s University 4s and Belfast Harlequins 4s as they met in the Women’s Junior Plate Final.
In their league meeting it was QUB who had the bragging rights as they picked up four points in the two league meetings, leaving Quinns looking to rectify the previous results.
This time the Deramore side got their win against the students, but it didn’t come easy as the game finished 0-0 after normal time. That meant penalty run-ins were once again required and it was Quinns who held their nerve and came out on top after a tense couple of minutes at PlayBall.
The first mens fixture of the day got underway at 2pm as Raphoe 2s traveled to PlayBall to take on Lisnagarvey 4s in the McClements Cup Final.
Both sides have been playing their league hockey in Junior 2 this season, but found themselves at opposite ends of the table with the County Donegal side being relegated which meant it was Garvey who entered the game as favourites.
They managed to live up to the tag of favourites despite a valiant effort from their opponents. Lisnagarvey simply proved too strong for their divisional rivals eventually winning the game 5-2.
The second of two mens finals of the day featured Parkview taking on Bangor 5s in the final of the Minor Cup.
This tie featured two teams who currently play in Junior 5. Parkview booked their place in the final having beaten Lisnagarvey 6s 2-1 in the semi-final meanwhile their opposition got past Belfast Harlequins 3s at the same stage.
The final itself proved to be one of the most exciting spectacles of the day as both sides went toe-to-toe and showing plenty of attacking prowess.
Yet again the two teams were inseparable as the game finished 2-2 at the end of normal time and for the third time of the day penalty run-ins were required to decide a winner. Like Belfast Harlequinns and Armagh earlier in the day it was Parkview who came out on top to win the Minor Cup.
Our final game of the day was for the Women’s Qualifying Plate as Belfast Harlequins 2s took Pegasus 3s.
To get there each side recorded impressive wins as Quinns recorded a 7-2 victory over Lurgan 3s whereas Pegasus drew 2-2 with Ulster Elks 2s before winning 5-4 on penalty run-ins.
In a thrilling final Pegasus fell to defeat with their goal proving to be nothing but a consolation as they fell to a 3-1 defeat to their Belfast rivals.
Photo: Front Row Union (https://www.thefrontrowunion.com/)