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Zoe aiming to close curtain on her Town stay in style

By John Flack

Published 20/04/2016

Swansong: Zoe Wilson hopes to end her Randalstown career by helping them win the play-offs
Swansong: Zoe Wilson hopes to end her Randalstown career by helping them win the play-offs

Zoe Wilson will shortly play her last game for Randalstown - but she's hoping that her swansong won't be on Saturday as her team chase a place in next season's EY Irish Hockey League for what would be the perfect send-off.

The 18-year-old Irish international, regarded as one of the most promising talents in the country, has revealed she will be leaving the club as she weighs up her options for next season.

But the good news is that she has opted to stay in Ireland to continue her studies, having turned down the opportunity to go across the water.

Wherever she ends up, she will be on a scholarship which will tie her up with a hockey club and if she were to stay in Northern Ireland, the Ulster Elks would be the favourites to capture her signature.

Ulster University, the only institution here that offers Zoe's preferred course in speech and language therapy, can offer aspiring students financial assistance to offset the cost of tuition fees and other inducements, provided they play for the club as part of the deal.

However, there is also the possibility that Zoe could take up a similar offer with a club and university south of the border and, for now, she is undecided.

"At the moment I am keeping my options open but I have decided to stay in Ireland after initially toying with the idea of undertaking the course in England," she said.

On Saturday, Town play Belfast Harlequins in the semi-finals of the play-off series in Dublin, the winners of which will qualify for the IHL while the runners-up will face UCC needing victory to secure the last qualifying place.

However, if Town were to lose, then their chances of dining at the top table would be over, so Zoe wants to delay her departure for as long as possible.

Either way, at least one Ulster team will be in Sunday's final against the winners of the second semi between Lurgan and Loreto and guaranteed at least a play-off the following weekend for the last available IHL place.

For the time being, Zoe is concentrating on Saturday after showing no effects of jet-lag to help Town come through the provincial play-offs at the weekend only a few days after playing for Ireland at the Hawke's Bay Cup in New Zealand.

"It was an unbelievable experience; I was so happy to be picked and I enjoyed the time away," she said. "For now, though, I am looking forward to the weekend and we will be giving it our all."

The Quins, who qualified from the other pool, will be without penalty corner ace Ruth Millar due to work commitments.

Lurgan have a tough task against Loreto, who will be fielding four Irish internationals.

Belfast Telegraph

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