The festive month of December is a busy one for Ulster Hockey, and therefore, the President and Vice President!
On 1st December I travelled to Ballyclare to watch Parkview Ladies 2nd XI v Ballynahinch 3rd XI – a great game was enjoyed by both teams, and a few spectators! Unfortunately, the best made plans didn’t materialise as Parkview men played Armagh on the Saturday away, and the ladies 1st XI match was switched to Friday night!!!
I made the trip to Raphoe on Saturday 8th December and watched the ladies 1st XI against Priorians, a local derby, in Senior 1 (Raphoe came out winners 3-2) followed by the mens 1st XI v Instonians in Premier League (Inst 2-1).
The McCullough Cup Final was played on 12th December @ 2pm, and thanks should go to Nigel McCullough, and his family, for their continuing interest and support for the competition. The winners from last year, Sullivan Upper, played Wallace HS at Lisnagarvey HC. The full time score was 2-2 and the game went to a penalty shoot out. Cole Chambers scored the winning run to seal a 3-2 victory for Wallace.
Off the back of last season’s youth indoor success, Ulster Hockey, in partnership with new sponsors BDO, launched the girls U18/U15 age group pool matches on Sunday 16th December at the Antrim Forum. 12 teams in each age group battled it out across two groups – cup and plate finals will be played in January 2019. Thanks to PJ Whyte and his umpiring team. On Wednesday 19th December Terry Templeton spent the day at Queens PEC to watch the boys schools indoor tournament – the draw was also made for the John Minnis Estate Agents Burney
Cup. Nine teams played in the indoor, with the top two teams playing in the final which was won by Sullivan 1-0 against Friends.
The Prior Shield Final was played the day after the indoor at Lisnagarvey HC between Regent House and Banbridge Academy 2nds and unfortunately due to short notice of this final, I was unable to attend, but the Vice President was there. The match went to a shoot out and was won by Regent 2nd XI.
I made the short journey to Mossley HC on Saturday 22nd December to watch the men’s premier league game against South Antrim, which Mossley won 3-1.
The Denman Ulster Shield and Kirk Cup Finals were played on Boxing Day at Lisnagarvey HC, and a large crowd was there to support the teams. Pegasus defeated Belfast Harlequins 4-3 on penalties, after a 2-2 draw at the end of full time. ‘Quins’ fought back from 2-0 down to take the game to a shoot out which Pegasus won – they lifted the Shield for a record 29th time!
In the Kirk Cup Final Banbridge were 4-1 winners over EYHL rivals Annadale.
NICS was the venue for the Junior League Cup Finals (m) and the Senior Cup Final (w) on Saturday 29th December – the showpiece for the ladies cup final was played between Raphoe and Omagh, and it was a special occasion for Omagh in particular, as they have never reached the Senior Cup Final in the club’s history. Omagh won the game 2-0 with two superbly taken goals in the last 12 minutes.
The junior league cup finals provided much excitement for the large crowd and the results are as follows:
Junior 1 Banbridge 3 Lisnagarvey 4 (shoot out)
Junior 2 Bangor 8 Mossley 9 (shoot out)
Junior 3 Mossley 1 Newry 0
Junior 4 North Down 3 CI 6 (shoot out)
Junior 5 North Down 1 Portrush 3
Again, thanks to all the umpires and technical officials for their support in covering the games. Thanks also to Terry for all his support.