Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

Armagh are hit by Thornbury injury

Armagh have suffered a pre-season blow with the news that Emma Thornbury may be sidelined for the next six weeks.

The Ulster under-21 player sustained an ankle injury during a weekend training camp in Scotland.

Ironically it was during the warm-up for one of the games against the Scots under-21s that she had to retire and was taken to hospital, where fortunately an X-ray revealed only tendon damage and not a break as was first feared.

Armagh aren't in action at the weekend as one team sits things out with five teams in each Winemark Ulster Shield Section and two matches down for decision.

Holders Randalstown have a tough draw with two other top flight sides in their group, Belfast Harlequins and Ballymena.

On Saturday they will be up against lesser opposition in the shape of Priorians.

'Town caused a bit of a stir last season when they scored a 4-0 win over Pegasus - a result which ultimately sent the then holders out of the competition.

It's unlikely Pegasus will stumble this time around in the round robin stages with last year's semi-finalists Ards their only potentially difficult encounter.

Pegs have strengthened their squad with Katherine Smith returning from maternity leave and the addition of ex-Harlequins star Lynsey Feeney.

Ballymoney reached the last four last time around and they start with what should be a straightforward opener against Portadown.

'Money have signed Irish under-18 star Megan Frazer from Priorians and Saturday's will be new coach Harry McNeill's first competitive game in charge.

Frazer was among the goalscorers at Inverclyde at the weekend as an Ulster Development squad returned home after an excellent trip tarnished only by that injury to Thornbury.

Ulster opened with a 2-0 defeat at the hands of the Scottish under-21s but then drew their next game 1-1 with Frazer the scorer before winning the last match 3-1.

Irish senior international Rachel Mulligan hit two of the goals in that game with Grace Watters also on the mark.

The side was captained by experienced Pegasus 'keeper Sharon Moffitt assisted by clubmate and former international Suzanne Beaney.

Even including those players the average age of the squad, coached by under-21 boss Graham Quincey and supervised by High Performance manager Stephen Watt, was just over 19 and the results bode well for the upcoming Ulster campaigns.

Saturday's Ulster Shield Fixtures: Section A: Belfast Harlequins v North Down (Deramore, 230pm), Priorians v Randalstown (St Columb's Park, 230pm); Section B: Ballymoney v Portadown (Joey Dunlop Centre, time TBC), Knock v Lisnagarvey (Shaw's Bridge, 230pm); Section C: Greenisland v Victorians (Carrick LC, 230pm), Omagh v Civil Service (Omagh, 230pm); Section D: Coleraine v Pegasus (UUC, 1pm), Cookstown v Ards (Cookstown HS time TBC).

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