Belfast Telegraph

Hockey: Stewart’s leading role for Ulster’s acid test

By John Flack

Armagh’s Emma Stewart will captain the Ulster Under 21 team to face their English counterparts in two challenge games at Lilleshall next month.

The games are being staged in a bid to plug the gap in the calendar after the U21 interprovincial series was scrapped by the Irish Hockey Association.

The squad will be coached by former Ulster and Irish U21 boss Graham Quincey who will be assisted by Ards player Janice Vaughan.

“This is very much a performance based programme to develop players in this age-group who no longer have places in an interprovincial squad to aspire to,” Quincey explained.

Armagh and Ireland star Stewart will wear the captain's armband for the two-match series to be played on April 11 and 12.

Meanwhile several members of the U21 squad will be on opposing sides when Lurgan meet Pegasus in the Premier League on Saturday.

Lurgan goalkeeper Lisa Costley could be in for a torrid time as she prepares to face talented Pegasus teenager Vanessa Surgeoner before they join forces at U21 level.

Lurgan defeated Randalstown 3-0 last Saturday after dropping two points from a midweek draw, suggesting they could give Pegasus a few problems this weekend.

The game will see their coach Jeannette Gordon attempting to plot the downfall of some of her former team mates.

Gordon, formerly Turner, won every trophy on offer during her time with Pegasus.

Saturday's fixtures: ONE 1918 Premier League: Ballymoney v Armagh (2.30pm), Harlequins v Armagh (2.30pm), Lurgan v Pegasus (2.30pm), Randalstown v Ulster Elks (2.30pm), Knock v Queen's (4pm). Senior One: Dromore v Victorians (2.30pm), Greenisland v Lisnagarvey (time tbc), North Down v Cookstown (1pm), Omagh v Ballymena (time tbc).

Ulster U21 squad to play England, Lilleshall, April 11-12: Ashley McIlroy (Queen's); Lisa Costley (Lurgan), Laura Wilson (UCD), Natalie Barr (Lurgan), Katie Saunderson (Worcester), Sarah McClure (Lurgan), Kerry McDonald (Armagh), Kirsty Lammey (Ulster Elks), Ciara Magee (Ulster Elks), Vanessa Surgeoner (Pegasus), Laura Robinson (Queen's), Emma Stewart (Armagh), Lauren Barr (Ballymoney), Katie McQuillan (Lisnagarvey), Jenny Kyle (Dundee Univ).

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