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Dungannon's goalkeeping bid hit by never on a Sunday call

By John Flack

Published 02/11/2016

Keeping faith: Lynda Elliott (right) is still hopeful of success despite goalkeeping crisis
Keeping faith: Lynda Elliott (right) is still hopeful of success despite goalkeeping crisis

Neither of their 1st or 2nd XI keepers play on the Sabbath due to their religious beliefs, so the club will have no option but to throw in a rookie for what will be their first appearance in the last four of the province's main knock-out competition.

Dungannon made a request to Ulster Hockey to have the game switched to another date but this was turned down.

"We are naturally disappointed that neither of our top keepers will be able to share in our achievement, so we have had to regroup and have been working hard to prepare for the semi-final," said captain Lynda Elliott.

"However, we had a similar issue in the Senior Cup semi-final a couple of years ago but, despite going behind in the first minute to the fancied Ballymena side, the girls deservedly made light of that and reached the final.

"The keeper situation is not ideal but we felt that, as Ulster Hockey had accommodated a similar scenario in the men's game, it was worthwhile to ask."

Kilkeel were the team in question but they have their unwillingness to play Sunday hockey enshrined in their constitution.

However, Lynda is confident her depleted team can give a good account of themselves against the Ulster Premier League champions.

"Obviously Lurgan go in as favourites after their opening day 4-1 league win in Dungannon.

"But, come Sunday, it starts at 0-0 and whatever 11 players are available to start we are confident they will represent the club with honour and if we play to our potential it should make for an exciting semi-final."

In the other tie being staged as the first part of a double-header at Lisnagarvey's complex, Queen's and holders Randalstown meet in a repeat of last year's final.

The EY Irish Hockey League resumes on Saturday with several key games, notably the clash between Ulster rivals Ulster Elks and Ards at Jordanstown.

Both teams are locked together on three points from four matches.

Belfast Harlequins have the same points tally and they face a long trip to Munster to face their namesakes from Cork, who are level with Monkstown on maximum points at the top.

Pegasus are six points adrift and they will be looking to get back to winning ways after two defeats when they take on newly-promoted Loreto at the Dub.

Meanwhile, Ireland continue their build-up to the first stage of the World Cup qualifying campaign with a triple-header against Scotland in Glasgow, starting with a game on Sunday.

The girls in green were beaten twice in the recent series in Belgium and shortly before the trip they were dealt a serious blow with news that inspirational captain Megan Frazer has been ruled out for up to nine months after rupturing her cruciate ligament.

WOMEN'S SENIOR FIXTURES

TONIGHT: Senior 1: Knock v Ballyclare (Strathearn, 8.15pm)

FRIDAY: Premier League: Randalstown v Queen's (Antrim, 7.30pm); Portadown v Banbridge (Edenvilla, 7.45pm)

SATURDAY: IHL: Cork H'quins v Belfast H'quins (1pm); Pegasus v Loreto (The Dub, 1pm); Railway v Monkstown (2.15pm); Ulster Elks v Ards (UUJ, 2.30pm); Pembroke v UCD (4pm)

Premier League: Ballymoney v Lisnagarvey (Joey Dunlop LC, 2.30pm); North Down v Dungannon (Comber, 2.30pm); Lurgan v Raphoe (Lurgan JHS, 2.30pm)

Senior 1: CI v Armagh (1pm); Ballymena v Cookstown (2.30pm); Larne v Rainey (2.30pm); Mossley v Victorians (4pm)

SUNDAY: Ulster Shield semi-finals (Lisnagarvey): Queen's v Randalstown (1pm); Dungannon v Lurgan (3pm)

DUNGANNON have a major goalkeeping problem as they prepare for Sunday's Denman Ulster Shield semi-final clash with Lurgan at Comber Road.

Belfast Telegraph

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