Queen’s University crowned Men’s Premiership Champions

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Queen’s University have been crowned Champions of Ulster Hockey’s Men’s Premiership.

Their win was somewhat of a formality having beaten Civil Service 4-0  however, it was not confirmed until South Antrim’s game against Belfast Harlequins the following night.

Despite the Lisburn sides win against their Belfast opponents, the result was not enough as the Student’s won the title on goal difference 

A relatively quiet first quarter at Friends saw the only chance of note fall to the visitors.

15 minutes into the game Stephen McGrath played a through ball into the area for Matthew Gray, the forward then tried to find teammate Aaron Murphy at the back post but the pass was intercepted at the death by a South Antrim defender.

The tense start continued after the break until Quins forward Paddy Jack was received the ball in the penalty area and saw his effort come off the crossbar as it stayed 0-0. 

Moments later the travelling side took the lead when Murphy was in the right place at the right time to tap in a rebound from Jack’s initial effort.

From there they began to take control of the game and won several short corners with the best effort coming from midfielder Michael Patterson.

His low effort from a penalty looked destined for the bottom corner, but was saved by South goalkeeper Peter Bingham.

That save proved important as just second later the scores were level when Max Taylor was played through on goal and his reverse effort found the far corner.

The title challengers began to show their quality and took the lead shortly after the half time break.

Substitute Josh Kamabrajah got the ball in the circle before laying it off for fellow forward Chris Henry whose reverse effort found the roof of the net from close range to make it 2-1.

A green card a piece later and the scores were once again level.

Harlequins midfielder McGrath won a penalty corner for his driving run into the circle from which a straight strike from James Hutchinson was fried past Bingham.

The final quarter once again saw a tense opening ten minutes before South Antrim had the ball in the net, only to be disallowed by the umpire for a short corner already being awarded.

A series of short corners followed but the home side were unable to capitalise on their period of pressure.

There was still time for late drama as two minutes from the end South Antrim had a goal from James Brown initially ruled out from a short corner only for the decision to be reversed and they sealed a late 3-2 victory

The result was enough to confirm Queen’s University as Champions by way of goal difference as South Antrim finish second.

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