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Busy Wilson savours key roles on and off pitch

 

By John Flack

Zoe Wilson will scarcely have time to catch her breath today with two important games in the space of a few hours to look forward to in contrasting roles.

The Belfast Harlequins and Ireland star will be in the dug-out for her alma mater Ballyclare High, who take on Rainey Endowed in the Super League final at Stormont this afternoon.

Then, after a short break, she will be heading to Upper Malone where her club side tackle Queen's in a rescheduled Irish Senior Cup first round clash.

Wilson says she is looking forward to both games which will present different challenges.

First up, she hopes to steer Ballyclare to what would be a first Super League triumph before reverting to a less stressful role with her club.

"I'm really enjoying being back at the school in a coaching position, and it's given me a fresh insight into the game, but it's definitely more nerve-wracking when you're standing on the sideline than playing," said the 20-year-old.

"The girls are playing well and producing some good team hockey but Rainey will be tough as we played them in the group stages and it finished 1-1, so I think it will be whoever turns up on the day that's going to win it."

Wilson is certainly an ideal role model for the High School players having scored the winner for Ballyclare against Lurgan College in the 2012 Belfast Telegraph Senior Cup final - a memory she will always cherish.

"I think that's still my career highlight but, of course, going to the World Cup might surpass it, so when the Ireland squad is selected and everything's settled it might be different, but it is still my greatest memory," she said.

Wilson says that Quins will have to be on their guard tonight when they face a Queen's side that has a 100% record in domestic hockey and contains two of her Ireland team-mates in Erin Getty and Jessica McMaster.

"I think Queen's will come out very strongly and we will need to bring the same level of intensity from the IHL from the start against them," she said.

"Everyone was very frustrated on Sunday after our draw with Trinity because we need to be putting these teams away if we're to finish in the top four.

"Unfortunately for us, their goalkeeper was very good and she really kept them in it, although we've a lot of work to do with our penalty corners."

The winners of tonight's tie will host Pembroke in Saturday's second round when five other Ulster teams will be in action in the knockout competition.

Ulster Elks face Lurgan in the only local derby while Ballymoney and Ards are away to tough IHL opposition in Cork Harlequins and UCD respectively.

Pegasus, however, should have a much more straightforward task as they host Leinster side Genesis, who could face a damage limitation exercise.

In the Ulster Premier League, the top game sees second-placed Dungannon take on fifth-placed Mossley, while the clash between two of the bottom three - Rainey and Portadown - will also be a crucial one.

Belfast Telegraph

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