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Rejuvenated Ards now have the Irish Hockey League play-offs in sight

By John Flack

Published 14/11/2016

On the move: Rebecca Weir launches an Ards attack against Quins
On the move: Rebecca Weir launches an Ards attack against Quins

Ards have moved into sight of the end-of-season EY Irish Hockey League play-offs after completing a hat-trick of wins on Saturday with a 2-0 victory over Belfast Harlequins at Deramore.

First-half goals from Irish international Chloe Brown and Kerry Harvey sealed the deal as the North Down outfit jumped up to fifth place in the table, trailing Railway Union only on goal difference.

Last season, Ards were battling against the threat of a relegation play-off for most of the campaign but they have undergone a transformation in recent weeks after a poor start.

Team captain Caroline Adams said: "Earlier on we could barely raise 13 players due to injuries but now we are back to full strength and that has obviously helped us.

"Having experienced players like Lynsey Mallon, Kerry Harvey and Lucy McKee back on board has made a big difference and now we can certainly look up the table and aim for a place in the top four.

"I thought we played quite well against a Harlequins side that made it difficult for us although when there were a few green and yellow cards handed out in the second half, the game became a bit disjointed."

While Ards are upwardly mobile, the same can't be said for Pegasus, who now have just one point from their last four matches following a 3-2 defeat by UCD on Saturday when Vanessa Surgeoner and Alex Speers got the consolation goals.

However, last season's runners-up are still just two points off fourth place and their most recent losses were against sides currently occupying the top three positions.

The Ulster Elks will be more concerned as a 4-2 defeat by Railway Union in Dublin means they, along with Belfast Harlequins, remain just three points off the bottom.

The Jordanstown side trailed 4-0 after the third quarter but will take some positives from their display in the remainder of the game as Hannah Irwin scored twice and could have hit a third.

At domestic level, Ballymoney moved back to the top of the Ulster Premier League table on goal difference ahead of champions Lurgan after Nikki Parke's goal gave them a 1-0 away win over Dungannon.

EY IHL: Hermes-Monkstown 3 Cork Harlequins 2; Belfast Harlequins 0 Ards 2 (C Brown, K Harvey); Loreto 3 Pembroke Wanderers 1; UCD 3 Pegasus 2 (A Speers, V Surgeoner); Railway Union 4 Ulster Elks 2 (H Irwin 2); Ulster Premier League; Banbridge 1 (S Bann) Queen's 2 (J McMaster, T Hastings); Dungannon 0 Ballymoney 1 (N Parke); Lisnagarvey 1 (J Flynn) North Down 2 (B Brittain, R Russell); Randalstown 0 Lurgan 1 (E McStea); Irish Hockey Trophy first round: Civil Service 0 Raphoe 3 (S Barnett, V Wray, S Patterson); Rainey 1 (R Burns) Waterford 1 (Rainey won 4-3 on pens); Three Rock 2 Portadown 4 (L Cassells 2, L McKimm, P Gilpin).

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