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Ards switch their focus to buoyant Harlequins

By John Flack

Ards have been relegated from the second division of the European Indoor Championship after losing 5-1 to Slough in their final match of the tournament in Prague yesterday.

Now Gareth Grundie's side will be turning their attention to the weekend's crucial EY Irish Hockey League clash with Belfast Harlequins, who will be in buoyant mood after a 2-1 Irish Senior Cup second round win over Pembroke on Saturday.

Temperatures in the Czech capital plummeted to minus six degrees over the weekend which obviously didn't affect the indoor event but Grundie is concerned that the cold snap here will hamper preparations for Saturday's game at Londonderry Park.

He said: "We won't be training on Monday as we'll be in transit and with snow forecast for Wednesday, it's not looking good as far as our session then is concerned.

"But at least we were able to play plenty of hockey in Prague, although we are naturally disappointed with the outcome.

"Silly mistakes particularly in the key match on Friday against the Croatian side, which we knew was going to be key, cost us dearly."

Meanwhile, Zoe Wilson is looking forward to an Irish Senior Cup quarter-final date with Cork Harlequins after inspiring their Belfast namesakes to that win over Pembroke at Deramore.

The 20-year-old Irish international had a hand in second half goals for Jenna Watt and Abigail Edwards after Pembroke had taken the lead through Hayley O'Donnell.

Wilson missed the 4-3 IHL loss in Cork earlier in the season due to work commitments and she can't wait to take part in the rematch.

She said: "I will be excited to play them again, having also drawn 3-3 with them in the home IHL game.

"They are a very good side, although with cup games it really can go either way on the day.

"The Pembroke game was tough, playing against a team with a similar, counter attacking style to our own."

Holders UCD will face Dublin rivals Loreto in the semi-final after a 3-1 comeback win over Lurgan while Pegasus await the winners of the game in Cork.

Meanwhile, Queen's have leapfrogged Ballymoney to go top of the Ulster Premier after a 3-1 away win over the Co Antrim side.

EuroHockey Indoor Trophy: Yesterday: Ards 1 (S Alexander) Slough 5; Saturday: Ards 1 (K Harvey) Gintra Strekte (Lithuania) 4; Ards 3 (C Brown 2, L Hamilton) Stade Francais 4.

Irish Senior Cup quarter-finals: Lurgan 1 (E Lindsay) UCD 3 (J O'Brien, E Russell, S Robinson); Railway Union 0 Loreto 1 (S O'Brien); 2nd round: Belfast Harlequins 2 (J Watt, A Edwards) Pembroke Wanderers 1 (H O'Donnell)

Ulster Premier: Ballymoney 1 (C Stacey) Queen's 3 (E McStea 2, R McKee); Banbridge 1 (S McCullough) Dungannon 1 (K Elliott); Portadown 2 (C Dunn 2) Rainey 0; Randalstown 1 (H Taggart) North Down 0

Senior One: Armagh 0 Raphoe 4 (W Patterson 2, S Barnett, A Kirkpatrick); CI 0 Lisnagarvey 5 (A Jebb 3, R Houston, A Morwood); Knock 0 Ballymena 11 (C Gillespie 4, B Reynolds 4, E Morrison 2, E Anderson); Priorians 4 (R McSparron, J Kennedy 2, S Black) Ballyclare 0; Victorians 3 (J Orr, E Conlin, R Hewitt) Omagh 2 (A Buchanan, E Shortt)

Irish Hockey Trophy: quarter final: Mossley 1 (N McMillan) Cork C of I 1 (Mossley won 3-1 on pens)

Irish Junior Cup: quarter-final: Ulster Elks 2 (K McFarland, J Hallen) Cork C of I II 2 (C of I won 4-3 on pens).

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