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McAuley is back with a bang

By John Flack

Published 11/01/2016

Class act: Belfast Harlequins’ Jenny McAuley
Class act: Belfast Harlequins’ Jenny McAuley

Jenny McAuley came out of first-team retirement to help Belfast Harlequins cement their position at the top of the Ulster Premier League.

The former Ireland international rolled back the years as she helped Quins to a 2-0 win over Queen's University at Deramore.

She set up one of the goals as Quins moved six points clear of Lurgan at the top after earlier indicating her playing time would be limited to playing for the club's second XI due to work commitments, but it seems she has a taste for first-team hockey again.

"I only stepped in when I was told we were a few players short but if the occasion arises in future then I will be glad to help out again," she explained.

Claire Weir got the opener on 45 minutes when she squeezed the ball home from a narrow angle with Queen's players claiming in vain that the ball had gone over the goal-line in the build up.

McAuley then sent over an inviting cross seven minutes later which Lucy Geddes deflected into the net to seal the deal.

Lurgan are aiming to overhaul Quins by winning their three games in hand after a hard-fought 2-1 victory over North Down in Comber, where Charlene Hull grabbed the decisive goal.

Pippa Best caught the eye with an impressive display on her temporary return from the United States where she is undertaking a hockey scholarship.

"Pippa had a great game, but North Down made it hard for us in the first half before we went on to dominate the second," explained Lurgan coach Robbie McMinn.

North Down are happy with their progress on their return to the top-flight after a long absence despite Saturday's result.

"We played well in the first half, but tired a little in the second, although we are doing okay this season and we will continue to work hard for the rest of it," said team captain Laura Clarke.

Dungannon scored a surprise 3-2 win over Ulster Shield holders Randalstown while Jasmine Kirkwood scored both goals in Lisnagarvey's 2-1 victory at Armagh.

Results: Ulster Premier League: Armagh 1 (K. McKee) Lisnagarvey 2 (J. Kirkwood 2); Belfast Harlequins 2 (C. Weir, L. Geddes) Queen's 0; Dungannon 3 (J. Wilson, A. Edwards, D. Robb) Randalstown 2 (M. Quinn, K. McDowell); North Down 1 (K. Hill) Lurgan 2 E. McStea, C. Hull); Ballymoney v Portadown postponed.

Senior One: Ballymena 3 Victorians 0; Banbridge 5 Ballyclare 0; Grosvenor 1 Raphoe 1; Knock 5 Cookstown 1 Larne 2 Rainey 2.

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