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Gary Niblock moves in for the Kil to land Cup for first time ever

Kilkeel 4-3 Belfast Harlequins

By Graham Hamilton

Kilkeel have won the Anderson Cup for the first time in the competition's 96-year history - but it needed Gary Niblock's strike to beat Belfast Harlequins in extra time in last night's final at Banbridge's Havelock Park.

The game ended all square at 3-3 after normal time but the lively Niblock popped up with the winner with only three minutes left to avoid the game going to penalties.

It was the Mournemen who took the lead after just eight minutes when a penalty corner was slipped right for Mark Stevenson to score but the Quins hit back through Neil Anderson from open play.

However, Niblock converted at the back post from a penalty corner switched left on the half-time hooter.

The Quins refused to lie down and levelled in the second period through Chris Lemon after 53 minutes and then took the lead for the first time when Michael Patterson scored from a penalty corner rebound four minutes later.

The Belfast side now had the momentum but instead William Annett's fine shot on the reverse on the hour levelled matters for the Mournemen and sent the game into extra time.

It seemed the final was then going to a shoot-out but Niblock proved to be the hero with his second goal with just three minutes left on the clock.

Meanwhile the domestic season will be wrapped up on Friday evening with Ulster Hockey's Gala Awards Dinner scheduled for the Ramada Plaza Hotel at Shaw's Bridge.

An array of trophies will be handed out for both men and women, at senior and junior levels, and a handful of inter-provincial trophies and schools' trophies will also be on display.

The major awards include the Kirk Cup (Instonians), Anderson Cup (Kilkeel), Premier League (Instonians), Senior One (Campbellians) and Linden Cup (Bangor) for the men, and the Denman Ulster Shield (Randalstown), President's Cup (Randalstown), Ulster Cup (Ballymena), Premier League (Lurgan) and Senior One (Banbridge) for the women.

The men's Ulster Player of the Year, Personality of the Year, Top Goalscorer and Fair Play awards will also be presented, as will the women's Player of the Year, Personality of the Year and Top Goalscorer.

The next hockey in Ulster will be at Stormont on Thursday, June 9 and Friday, June 10 when the Irish men take on Canada as part of their build-up to the Rio Olympics, a chance for Ulster hockey fans to wish them well on their way.

Belfast Telegraph

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