No Cup joy but Ards storm to six indoor titles
Chloe Brown ended a bitter-sweet weekend on a high note after scoring two of the goals as Ards lifted the Irish Indoor Championship trophy for the sixth year in a row with a 4-1 win over Railway Union at the Queen's PE Centre yesterday.
Twenty-four hours earlier, the Irish international striker had missed the crucial penalty stroke as Ards crashed out of the Irish Senior Cup, going down 6-5 in a shoot-out after a 1-1 draw with Cork Harlequins.
However, Brown certainly made amends yesterday as Ards booked another trip to the continent next year as they continued their remarkable success record in the six-a-side version.
She scored the opening goal after eight minutes from a penalty corner and Kerri McDonald made it 2-0 with a superb solo effort four minutes later.
Hannah de Burgh Whyte replied for Railway from a set-piece six minutes after the break but Lucy McKee set up Brown for her second within 60 seconds.
Ards had to defend bravely as the Dublin side forced the pace and then withdrew their goalkeeper to have an extra outfield player in a last throw of the dice.
But the move backfired as McKee, who had scored twice in a 4-1 semi-final win over Glenanne, found the empty net in the dying seconds to seal the win.
"We are delighted to win the title again but Railway really put it up to us and we had to be at our best to beat them," said Ards captain Caroline Adams.
"Had we not won, it would have been a really bad weekend but we can also take plenty of positives out of Saturday's game."
With Ballymoney losing 3-1 to Pembroke, Pegasus will be the only Ulster representative in today's quarter-final draw.
Michelle Harvey hit both of the goals, including a 64th minute winner, in the 2-1 victory over Loreto in Dublin.
Harvey broke the deadlock in the first half when she scored at the second attempt after her initial shot had been saved.
Loreto hit back to equalise through a Sarah Evans penalty corner on the hour but Harvey grabbed the winner from another set-piece.
Pegasus captain Alex Speers said: "It was a huge performance from us especially in defence where we were solid, as we had to be, right to the end."
In the Ulster Premier League leaders Lurgan consolidated their position at the top as Sarah McClure scored twice in a 3-0 win at Lisnagarvey.
Queen's came from a goal down to beat Randalstown 2-1 at the Dub where Jessica McMaster and Jody Kee cancelled out Rachel King's first half strike.
There were also wins for Banbridge and Dungannon while Rainey beat Raphoe on penalties in the Irish Hockey Trophy quarter-finals.
Irish Indoor Championship: semi-finals: Ards 4 (L McKee 2, K McDonald, K Harvey) Glenanne 1 (A Westlake); Queen's 4 (J Orr, R Cowden 2, K Bryans) Railway Union 6 (O Fox, H de Burgh Whyte 2, M Carey 2); Final: Ards 4 (C Brown 2, K McDonald, L McKee) Railway Union 1 (H de Burgh Whyte)
Irish Senior Cup quarter-finals: Ballymoney 1 (J Moore) Pembroke 3 (H O'Donnell 2, R Scott); Ards 1 (C Brown) Cork Harlequins 1 (R Upton) (Quins won 6-5 on strokes); Loreto 1 (S Evans Pegasus 2 (M Harvey 2); UCD 3 Monkstown 3 (UCD won 7-6 on strokes)
Irish Hockey Trophy quarter-final: Rainey 1 (R Burns) Raphoe 1 (W Patterson) (Rainey won 2-1 on strokes)
Premier League: Banbridge 1 (R Kerr) Portadown 0; Dungannon 5 (A McKay, L White 2, D Robb, R Bell) North Down 0; Lisnagarvey 0 Lurgan 3 (S McClure 2, C Hull); Queen's 2 (J McMaster, J Kee) Randalstown 1 (R Scott)
Senior One: Ballyclare 0 Knock (J Doak 2, H Lewis 2); Cookstown 0 Ballymena 2 (C McCracken, K Young); Victorians 3 (E Conlin, R Hewitt, J Fusco) Mossley 2 (A Jones, N McMillan)