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Belfast Telegraph Senior Schools Cup: Holly Bennison keeps a cool head to end Methody's final famine

By Graham Hamilton

Holly Bennison wasn't even born when Methodist College last reached the Belfast Telegraph Senior Schools Cup final.

But her penalty corner strike five minutes from the interval in the semi-final clash with Royal School Armagh yesterday afternoon proved to be the only goal of the game and booked the Belfast school its first appearance in the decider since 1993.

Methody have a great record - 18 outright wins and three shared titles - but they must go back to 1988 since their last success ... and that's something the current squad aim to put right.

There's little doubt Methody were worth their win, but their inability to convert chances meant that the tie was in the balance right until the death.

"We made it difficult for ourselves," admitted Methody captain Katie Larmour.

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"We knew one goal might not be enough and so it was uncomfortable right to the end.

"It's the first time in a long time that our school has reached the final, so it was overdue, and we're so happy to be part of the success. It's unbelievable."

Methody certainly had the chances to wrap things up in the first half but the Armagh girls held tight under the pressure.

Larmour shot into the sidenetting in the 23rd minute as the Belfast girls took control and they were finally rewarded when Bennison's strike from a penalty corner flew home.

It was a closer second half but Armagh just couldn't test the Methody keeper and found themselves defending more penalty corners late in the game, with keeper Grace Nugent blocking eveything thrown at her.

"It's heart-breaking to miss out on the final," admitted Armagh coach Caroline Adams.

"They took their chance when it came along and we didn't take ours but it's a young team who will learn from the experience."

METHODIST COLLEGE BELFAST: Caitlin Fisher, Katie Larmour, Jodie Savage, Olivia Savage, Kirsten Webb, Hannah Cunningham, Naomi Fenton, Anna Jamison, Rhiannon Coulter, Holly Bennison, Caitlin Rose, Susie McCollum, Sophie Hunter, Amy Hanna, Anna Armstrong, Rachel Nevin, Madison Bowyer

ROYAL SCHOOL ARMAGH: Grace Nugent, Lauren Wright, Joanna Berry, Vikki Berry, Alice McClung, Alana Doyle, Katelyn Johnston, Lucy Finney, Hannah Irwin, Maria Reaney, Judith Hooks, Jemina Stevenson, Katie Brown, Ruth Davidson, Claras Lennon, Katherine Magowan, Rachel Martin



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