Carolyn Burns to make history after Rainey's promotion
Carolyn Burns will become the oldest player ever to compete in the Ulster Premier League next season after helping Rainey earn promotion with a dramatic play-off win over Lisnagarvey.
The Magherafelt side will replace Garvey in the top flight after a nail-biting 4-1 penalty shoot-out victory following a 2-2 draw at Upper Malone.
Burns, who will be 57 when the new season starts, had scored two of the goals when Rainey beat Mossley in the Senior Cup final on New Year's Day.
This time she turned provider, setting up her 17-year-old daughter Alex for the opening goal before the latter's sibling Rachel, who captained the side, kept a cool head to score the first penalty in the shoot-out.
All credit to Lisnagarvey, who came back from 2-0 down with goals from Jenna McQueen and Beth Ravey in the last nine minutes after Lois Kelso had added to Rainey's tally.
Then it was the turn of goalkeeper Erin Mulholland, a former Northern Ireland Under-16 football international, to become the star turn as she saved three of Garvey's efforts from the spot.
Former international Carolyn is delighted at the prospect of playing in the Premier League again, 17 years after her last appearance in it when she lined out for Randalstown.
She said: "I was actually pregnant with Alex when I had to stop and now we're going to be playing alongside each other in the Premier - it's hard to believe but it's an exciting prospect.
"Unfortunately, Rachel will be leaving the club to study in Dublin and she'll be playing for Trinity in the Irish Hockey League but at least we won't have to play against each other!"
Carolyn revealed that Rainey were extremely confident going into the penalty shoot-out before going on to earn their fourth promotion just eight years after the club's formation.
She added: "It was actually our fifth shoot-out of the season and we had won four of them in the Irish Hockey Trophy before losing the last one.
"Having lost to Raphoe on penalties in the promotion decider last season, it was redemption and I think we're capable of holding our own in the Premier next season with so many talented youngsters in the squad."
Premier League promotion/relegation play-off: Lisnagarvey 2 (J McQueen, B Ravey) Rainey 2 (A Burns, L Kelso) Rainey won 4-1 on penalty strokes
McConnell Shield final: Priorians 3 (S Black, R McSparron, N Lowery) Queen's II 1 (J Morrow) (aet)
Intermediate Cup final: Mossley II (Z Tisdale) Holywood 0
Junior Cup final: Omagh II 5 (A Young 5) Coleraine II 3 (L Todd, L Dornan, C-A Agnew)
Minor Cup final: Cooke 1 (G Braden) Owls II 2 (aet)