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Face injury rules out McConnell for six weeks


At the double: Two goals for Garvey's Scarlett Holdsworth

At the double: Two goals for Garvey's Scarlett Holdsworth

At the double: Two goals for Garvey's Scarlett Holdsworth

Mossley defender Rebecca McConnell is expected to be out of action for up to six weeks after sustaining a nasty injury during Saturday's 4-3 Ulster Premier League defeat at Lisnargarvey.

The Irish U18 international was struck in the face by a lifted ball just outside her own circle towards the end of the game.

The match was held up for several minutes while she received treatment on the pitch and on the sidelines.

Her face was so badly swollen that the full extent of the damage won't be known until she is able to undergo X-rays in hospital.

However, it looks like she might have suffered a fractured cheek bone and she has already been told she will be unable to eat solid food for several weeks.

The injury marred an otherwise superbly entertaining match in which Mossley twice came back from two goals down to make a real fight of it.

The Newtownabbey side were without five regulars, who are on tour in Holland with Ballyclare High, but they made life difficult for the league leaders.

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"I was proud of the team, who fought very hard and although we were missing those players, I'm not making any excuses," said Mossley coach Davy Allen.

"However, we are where we are and still without a win, so it's crucial that we start picking up points sooner rather than later."

In contrast, it's been a good start to the campaign for early pacesetters Garvey, who have recruited some decent players after being promoted from the second tier last season.

"We'll take the win but it's very early days still and we've played more games than our main rivals," said coach Adam Louden.

"There are still areas we need to improve upon and our penalty corner execution needs to be better, for example."

Garvey captain Scarlett Holdsworth broke the deadlock in the eighth minute when she rifled in a penalty corner.

But from their first real attack, Mossley replied in kind in the 26th minute when Nicola McMillan scored with a cracking shot from the left.

Three minutes from the break, Louise Hughes deflected home another set-piece to make it 2-1 to the hosts.

Holdsworth then set up Dawn Axon, who scored at the far post eight minutes after the break.

But Mossley fought back again and McMillan fired in another superb shot from a corner to reduce the deficit to 3-2. Holdsworth got her second with 13 minutes left to restore Garvey's two-goal lead before McMillan set up Karen Dixon, who scored with a brilliant deflection four minutes later but it was too little, too late.

At the Joey Dunlop Centre, champions Lurgan scored twice in the opening seven minutes to set up a 3-2 win over previously unbeaten Ballymoney.

Sarah McClure and Charlene Stewart scored early on before Jo-Ann Reid got a third with Katherine Minihan and Nikki Parke replying for Money.

In the other top-flight game, Rainey beat Banbridge 2-0 with goals from Sara Semple and Ellie Stewart. Meanwhile, Queen's and Ulster University are through to the Irish Inter-Varsities semi-finals in Dublin after opening with two wins apiece.

Ulster Premier League: Ballymoney 2 (N Parke, K Minihan) Lurgan 3 (S McClure, C Stewart, J-A Reid); Lisnagarvey 4 (S Holdsworth 2, L Hughes, D Axon) Mossley 3 (N McMillan 2, K Dixon); Rainey 2 (S Semple, E Stewart) Banbridge 0.

Senior One: CI 1 (K Willis) Priorians 0; Coleraine 2 (S Nutt, C McNickle) Castle 0.

Irish Inter-varsities championship: Queen's 3 (T Hastings 3) UCC 0; Queen's 2 (A Boland, T Hastings) Trinity 0; UU 4 (E Quinn, L Paul, R Kerr, A Logan) NUIG 1; UU 1 (E Quinn) UCD 0

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