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Katie's family fortunes helping to power Quins

By John Flack

Mum's the word for Katie Larmour, who captained Methodist College to their first all-Ireland title earlier this month in Limerick when she proudly lifted the Kate Russell Cup.

The 18-year-old finished as leading goalscorer with six in four games and was the obvious choice for the player of the tournament accolade.

Katie says she owes a debt of gratitude to her mother, Roisin Walsh, who introduced her to hockey at a young age and still plays a key role at Belfast Harlequins.

The links between school and club are very close and Katie will shortly be turning her attention to the all-Ireland stage again, this time with Quins who will be competing for a place in next season's EY Irish Hockey League.

Katie's mother Roisin captained Collegians, as Belfast Harlequins were previously known, to Senior League glory back in 1988, the year Methody last won the Belfast Telegraph Senior Cup before 2016's success.

And so it was fitting her daughter should captain the school and score the only goal of the game in the win over holders Sullivan Upper at Jordanstown which qualified the school for the all-Ireland series.

Methody has been a feeder school for Harlequins and the majority of the players who were in this season's squad play for the club as well - something Katie feels is important.

"We had a squad of 18 players at the all-Irelands, 17 of whom play for clubs and 13 of those are at Harlequins, " she explained. "Most of the girls have played club hockey before going to secondary school and club hockey can only help school hockey development.

"The benefits work both ways; young players like Jodie and Olivia Savage, Rhiannon Coulter, Sophie Hunter and Anna Armstrong are already playing for Quins firsts or seconds and all of our lower senior sides boast many of Methody's younger talent.

"Many of the girls at Harlequins started as a junior and are now playing senior hockey, so heading the junior section ultimately makes mum responsible for the development of many of the girls at the club."

Roisin, who coaches scores of young children week in week out, says youth development is key to the south Belfast club's future.

"There is a network of coaches, such as Jodie Kee, Peter Pollock, Gregg Sterritt, Roger Martin and Katie herself, coaching upwards of 80 girls every Sunday from the age of 11 to 15," Roisin explained.

"Our aim is to help get the talented players onto Ulster development programmes and to continue to populate the club.

"At Quins the hard work pays off; we continue to sustain five senior sides from the Premier League down to Junior Five.

"Although many play school hockey at Methody, we also have players from Rathmore, Regent House, Victoria College, Friends and Hunter House."

Belfast Telegraph

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