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Randalstown plea for a game as Ulster Shield final nears

Randalstown look certain to be kicking their heels for another week or two before playing Armagh in the Winemark Ulster Shield final on December 30.

It's hardly a satisfactory situation, considering they have played only three league games out of a total possible nine to date.

So the New Year is likely to produce a severe backlog for the Co Antrim girls, even if the weather doesn't intervene which cannot be guaranteed.

'Town are listed to play Ballymena on Saturday but that's by no means certain to go ahead as they have several players involved in Irish training in Dublin.

"We don't expect the game to go ahead and that will only add to our frustration," explained 'Town midfielder Louise Creighton.

"It's not ideal to have so little match practice before such an important game as the Shield final.

"It's a big occasion for the club and we are all really looking forward to it."

'Town edged out Ards 2-1 in extra time in Sunday's semi-final while Armagh beat Ballymoney 1-0 also after an added 20 minutes.

"It will be a new experience for the younger players in the squad, like Shirley McCay and Amy McFarlane," Louise added.

"There wasn't much hockey played in the Ards game but that's the sort of match we expected.

"But the important thing was that we won the game and got through to the final."

'Town haven't given up on the league title just yet, though Pegasus are firmly in the driving seat with maximum points from five matches.

"If we beat them in the return fixture at the Antrim Forum then it's wide open again though they are obviously favourites." Louise continued.

Two games definitely going ahead on Saturday are the clashes between Ards and Victorians and Harlequins and Ballymoney.

All those sides are chasing places in the top three, though if Ards can beat Pegasus after Christmas they would still fancy their chances of claiming top spot.

The top game in Senior One brings together the top two _ Coleraine and Priorians.

And third placed North Down are hoping that game will end up a draw, and that they can win at Cookstown to keep the pressure on in the promotion race.

It's a big weekend in Dublin for the 30-plus Irish senior training panel who will be out to impress recently appointed national coach Gene Muller.

After the session he'll name his squad for the six-test tour of South Africa scheduled for January.


Adelaide Insurances Senior One: Ards v Victorians (Ards LC, 230pm), Belfast Harlequins v Ballymoney (Deramore, 2.30pm), Ballymena v Randalstown (to be confirmed).

Roadwise Senior Two: Parkview v Ballyclare (Valley LC, 2.30pm), Coleraine v Priorians (UUC, 1pm), Cookstown v North Down (Cookstown, 2.30pm), Portadown v Lurgan (Edenvilla, 2.30pm), Civil Service v Lisnagarvey (Stormont, 2.30pm).

Belfast Telegraph

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