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Bann girls out to emulate Lurgan title win

By John Flack

Banbridge Academy have two wins out of two going into the final day of their All-Ireland schoolgirls' championship title bid at Havelock Park as they attempt to follow near neighbours Lurgan and bring home the silverware.

Lurgan Ladies retained the Ulster Premier title after coming from a goal down to record a decisive 3-1 victory over Queen's University on Wednesday night to complete a league and Ulster Shield double for the first time in the club's history.

Lurgan captain Charlene Hull said: "It's a massive achievement to win the league for the second year in a row as well as the Shield.

"We now want to make it a hat-trick of domestic trophies by lifting the Ulster President's Cup.

"Then it's on to qualifying for the EY Irish Hockey League which we know will be an extremely difficult task but, by winning our league, we are exempt from the first round of matches as a reward.

"So that means we have fewer matches in the series in Dublin next month so we will keep focused on that once we finish the local season hopefully with another trophy."

After the qualifiers in Dublin, Lurgan will hope to be in a position to mix it on the national stage next season, something which the Banbridge Academy girls did with considerable success yesterday.

The Belfast Telegraph Senior Cup winners began their debut in the Kate Russell Cup with a 2-0 win over Connacht champions Colaiste Iognaid and followed that with another victory over Leinster's Muckross Park.

Katie McKee, who hit a hat-trick in the local final win over Wallace High, got the opener after 15 minutes against the Galway girls and Lauren McGaw made it 2-0 midway through the second-half to seal victory.

Team captain Orla Thompson broke the deadlock in the second game from a penalty-corner in the first-half and Charley Brush wrapped things up from another set-piece in the 53rd minute.

Banbridge trail Kilkenny only on goal difference overnight, adding significance to the meeting between the sides in today's opener.

Kate Russell Cup: Banbridge 2 (K McKee, L McGaw) Colaiste Iognaid 0; Banbridge 2 (O Thompson, C Brush) Muckross Park 0; today: Banbridge v Kilkenny (11am); Banbridge v Ursuline Convent (3.50pm)

Ulster Premier League: Lurgan 3 (C Johnston, L Wright, E McStea) Queen's 1 (T Hastings)

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