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Irish girls off to Bisham Abbey for GB warm-ups

By John Flack

Ireland captain Katie Mullan is hoping her team can build on recent progress when they face Olympic gold medallists Great Britain in three internationals this week at Bisham Abbey, starting with today's clash (4.30pm).

In their last series of warm-up matches ahead of the World Cup in London in July, Ireland shared the spoils with Spain, winning two matches and losing two, after falling to a crushing 7-0 defeat in the first encounter.

They were to play two games against Scotland last week but they had to be postponed until May due to the wintry weather.

But former Ballymoney player Mullan, now with UCD, is relishing the prospect of playing a star-studded GB side over the next few days.

She said: "It's my fifth trip to Bisham and the facilities there are absolutely fabulous, so we will be doing plenty of training as well as playing three games."

"The aim will be to hit the ground running and pick up from where we left off in Spain.

"We are really looking forward to the GB games which will be a step up in class for us."

Ireland will be without several members of their 29-strong World Cup training squad for the trip including Ulster players Leah McGuire and Lizzie Colvin, who are carrying knocks, along with Anna O'Flanagan and Chloe Watkins, who have club commitments in Holland.

On Saturday Mullan helped UCD to a hard-fought 1-0 Irish Hockey League win over Pegasus at The Dub where Sara Twomey got the all-important goal with nine minutes left.

The result ended any slim hopes Pegasus might have had of winning the regulation season title and they are now looking over their shoulders as they strive for a place in the play-offs.

Railway are level on points in fourth place, trailing only on goal difference, after a 2-0 win at Belfast Harlequins.

Quins' chances of a play-off spot are all but over following their result against Railway and Ards are also unlikely to progress following a disappointing 2-0 away defeat to struggling Trinity as all three Ulster sides lost.

In the Ulster Premier League, Queen's stay top despite only drawing 1-1 with Randalstown.

Lurgan have closed the gap and gone second after a 4-0 home win over Ballymoney while Rainey have moved out of the relegation play-off zone after Alex Burns hit a dramatic winner with the last play of the game in a 3-2 victory over Banbridge.

IHL: Belfast Harlequins 0 Railway Union 2 (K Lloyd, K Orr); Cork Harlequins 1 (C Sargent) Monkstown 0; Pegasus 0 UCD 1 (S Twomey); Pembroke 1 (S Quill) Loreto 1 (H Mulcahy); Trinity 2 (E Noone, N Sweeney) Ards 0

Irish Hockey Challenge: Dromore 1 Blackrock 2

Ulster Premier: Lurgan 4 (C Stewart, L Wright, S McClure, J Wilson) Ballymoney 0: North Down 1 (K Sinclair) Ulster Elks 3 (L Paul, E Clyde, E Quinn); Portadown 0 Mossley 1 (K Smiley); Queen's 1 (J McMaster) Randalstown 1 (CJ McDonald); Rainey 3 (B Scott 2, A Burns) Banbridge 2 (P Haugh 2).

Senior One: Ballyclare 1 (L McKinty) Omagh 0; Knock 0 Raphoe 2 (V Wray, E Harper); Priorians 0 CI 0; Victorians 1 (C Houston) Lisnagarvey 2 (R Houston 2)

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