South Antrim looking up after hockey cup victory
South Antrim bridged a 12-year gap when they beat Armagh 3-2 in a tense and exciting Podium Linden Cup final at Belfast Harlequins' Deramore ground.
The young Lisburn side, rooted to the bottom of the Senior One table without a point, came from behind to take the glory and now captain and goalkeeper Paul Montgomery's next target is to climb away from the dreaded relegation zone.
"We have a young side, with ten players under the age of 21, including 15-year-old schoolboy Johnny Patterson, and this win will hopefully give us the confidence to haul ourselves clear of trouble in the league," he said after receiving the trophy from Branch president Raymond Hughes.
“After a nervous start, no doubt due to the big occasion, our young squad got to grips with the game, and nbow we must build on this in the second half of the league programme.”
It didn't look good for South in the early stages, as Greg Croft had a shot and Ainsley McRoberts had a penalty corner both saved by Montgomery, before McRoberts put Armagh ahead with a clincial effort from his team's second penalty corner.
South finally equalised two minutes from the break with Michael Pollock's direct shot from his team's second penalty corner, and then 15 minutes into the second half Pollock's penalty corner switch saw Craig Campbell put them ahead.
Armagh's response was immediate and Stuart Kirland weaved his way through a static South defence to level matters in the 50th minute. The South pressure finally paid dividends when Chris Henry deflected home what proved to be the winner.
South stalwart William Redpath missed the game as he was attending a wedding in Enniskillen.