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Emily has her sights set on an unusual Denman Shield double


By John Flack

Queen's University striker Emily McStea is just 70 minutes away from pulling off a rare and possibly unprecedented achievement as she prepares for Boxing Day's Denman Ulster Shield final clash with Lurgan at Stormont (1pm).

The talented teenager helped Lurgan lift the famous trophy for the first time last season and, as fate would have it, her current club were on the losing side, going down 3-1 in the decider.

Emily is therefore keen to make amends and help Queen's avenge that result, and at the same time get her hands on the Shield with two different clubs in the space of a year.

The Stranmillis College student says she is looking forward to the occasion and the possibility of doing an unusual double, having had her fair share of success with her former club.

"I'm excited about the prospect of playing Lurgan for the third time this season, although I do tend to get a little nervous," said the 18-year-old.

"Winning the league and Shield with Lurgan was a very good feeling, especially as I was still at school and one of the youngest in the team, so I felt very lucky to be in that position."

However, Emily is now completely focused on her attempt to put one over her former team mates and help Queen's lift the Shield for the first time since the 1932/33 season.

"To me it's just another game. I must treat it as such or else I will not be in the right mind set but it's always tough to play against your former team, no matter how long it is since you left them," she added.

Queen's go into Tuesday's game boasting an unbeaten record in domestic hockey and that included a 4-1 win over Lurgan in the group stages of the Shield and a 3-2 victory in the league.

However, Emily insists the form book will count for nothing in the final.

Lurgan coach Robbie McMinn has no hesitation in making Queen's, who include two senior internationals in Erin Getty and Jessica McMaster, as favourites to reverse last year's outcome.

"Queen's are the team to beat on paper in all Ulster competitions and their experience with their internationals at U-21 and senior level makes them a side that should dominate games in the Premier," he said.

"They have added quality players - Sarah McCabe in goals and Emily up front, in particular, as we know will score 10-20 goals in a season."

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