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Ards dealt major blow as Tamara Macleod ruled out for Vienna

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Setback: Tamara Macleod will not play in the Ards’ European Indoor Championship trip to Vienna

Setback: Tamara Macleod will not play in the Ards’ European Indoor Championship trip to Vienna

Setback: Tamara Macleod will not play in the Ards’ European Indoor Championship trip to Vienna

Tamara Macleod has ruled herself out of contention for a place in the Ards squad for the European Indoor Championship trip to Vienna in February.

She had played a starring role in helping the defending champions lift the national title for the fourth year in a row last week.

Macleod, who hadn't played that version of the game for more than 20 years, looked like she had never been away as she hit five goals in four games.

But with two young children and a busy day job as a restaurant manager, work and family commitments will prevent her from making the trip to Austria.

Outdoors, the former Ireland player was instrumental in helping Ards lift the Denman Ulster Shield with a nail-biting penalty shoot-out win over Pegasus on Boxing Day after a 3-3 draw.

It was a case of potential villain turned heroine after she received a yellow card during extra time and spent an agonising spell in the sin bin before striking the equalising goal with the last action of the additional 10 minutes.

"I was just about to walk back onto the pitch when they scored to make it 3-2 with three minutes left and I thought that was maybe our chance gone," recalls the 41-year-old.

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"But I knew that we were in with a chance of taking the game into a shoot-out if we could force a penalty corner and, fortunately, that's what happened.

"Our set-pieces had been going well all day and we had scored two out of four before we got the last one.

"Fortunately, the ball fell kindly for me after they failed to clear properly and I was able to steady myself and flick it over the keeper."

Macleod had scored two of the penalties in the semi-final shoot-out win over the Ulster Elks which went to a second phase.

Ards have a week off before they face the Elks in a crucial Premier League encounter on January 10 but there are three matches down for decision on Saturday.

The Elks have a chance to extend their lead at the top of the table as they face Portadown while Belfast Harlequins take on Ballymoney and Randalstown host Lurgan.


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