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Harlequins new girl Andrea Desneaux sets sights high

By John Flack

Belfast Harlequins have signed French international Andrea Desneaux from the Ulster Elks and she will be hoping her inside knowledge can help her new side book their place in the second round of the Irish Senior Cup on Saturday.

The 22-year-old, who now manages a pizza outlet in Belfast after finishing her studies at Ulster University, was a member of the Elks squad that lifted the famous trophy for the first time last season.

Harlequins travel to Cork to take on UCC on Saturday and Desneaux played against them several times at the Irish Inter-varsities championship when she was representing the university.

This season, UCC are competing in the EY Irish Hockey League and, two weeks ago, they were crushed 8-0 by the Elks.

However, their results at this year's Inter-varsities would suggest an improvement as they reached the semi-finals only to go down 2-0 to UCD.

Andrea said: "I still have a lot of contacts at the Elks, so I will be asking them for some information and I know a bit about UCC so, hopefully, that will help us when we play them in Cork."

Quins are on a roll at the moment and are sitting proudly at the top of the Ulster Premier League table after a 5-2 win over Portadown at the weekend.

Coach Davy Frazer said: "It's a game we believe we can win, although obviously it's a very long journey so we will be travelling down on Friday and staying overnight."

The Elks are also on the road as they set out on their defence of the trophy with a trip to Dublin to face Old Alex.

Elks captain Gemma Frazer said: "We played them in a pre-season friendly and won easily but we won't be reading anything into that as both sides were short of some key players."

There are two other cross-border ties on Saturday as Queen's travel to Dublin to face UCD and Ballymoney take on Cork C of I at the Joey Dunlop Centre.

Queen's haven't had the luck of the draw in recent years, having played Loreto three years in a row and Hermes last season with all away from home.

But they will take some heart from the fact they held UCD to a 2-1 defeat at this week's Inter-varsities with the Belfast side without several key players.

Ballymoney have been having a tough season with just one win in the league to date but they should be capable of progressing at the expense of Cork C of I.

There are three all-Ulster ties with North Down having drawn the short straw as they face IHL champions Pegasus.

Lisnagarvey edged out Dungannon 3-2 in a recent league game so everything points to another close contest in the rematch at Comber Road while Randalstown will be favourites to dismiss Armagh.

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