McClure's starring role for Lurgan's history makers
Lurgan 2-1 Queen's
Sarah McClure was the two-goal heroine as Lurgan made history by lifting the Denman Ulster Shield for the first time with a hard-fought 3-1 victory over Queen's at Stormont yesterday.
McClure was in sparkling form throughout the match, pulling the strings in midfield, as well as scoring the crucial goals that left it a bad day for the scholars.
Lurgan fully deserved their win as McClure struck twice early in the second-half from penalty-corners to put the game beyond the reach of the students who had gone into the break level at 1-1.
Triumphant captain Charlene Hull said: "We are absolutely delighted to have made amends for last year's semi-final defeat by Queen's and winning the Shield was one of our targets this season."
"Losing last year hurt and we were determined not to experience that same feeling again and this means so much to us, especially for the three or four of us who lost out in 2011, which was our only previous appearance in the final."
Hull had a hand in Lurgan's first goal in the seventh minute when her penalty-corner shot was tipped home by Lauren Wright. Queen's recovered from that early setback and Stefanie McCullough equalised with a deft deflection from a Paige Brown cross six minutes from half-time.
But McClure proved to be the match-winner with her brace of penalty-corner conversions in the 41st and 51st minutes before some fine stops from Lurgan keeper Susie Taylor prevented a late Queen's comeback.
McClure said: "It was a tough match as we had expected.
"But I thought we deserved it and it was nice to get the two goals but I felt the whole squad were superb."
However, the Co Armagh team won't be resting. McClure added: "We don't want to stop there because we have also set our sights on retaining the Ulster Premier League title and, hopefully qualifying for the Irish Hockey League next season as well."
Lurgan: Susie Taylor, Charlene Hull, Chloe McCann, Phoebe Preston, Sarah McClure, Carly Johnston, Jo-Anne Wilson, Jenny Morrow, Kathryn Edgar, Amy Edwards, Kerrie Burns, Emily McStea, Hannah Magowan, Emma Lindsay, Lauren Wright.
Queen's: Megan Todd, Ellen Hood, Emma Kernohan, Jessica McMaster, Robyn McKee, Tori Hastings, Linzi Hamilton, Paige Brown, Rachel Henderson, Megan McKenna, Leah Crooks, Anna Hutchinson, Stefanie McCullough, Kathryn Bryans, Kerry McIlwaine, Alice Christie. Umpires: Lyn Morrow & Adare Brady