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Jenny McAuley calls time on long and successful career

By John Flack

Belfast Harlequins and former Ireland player Jenny McAuley has announced her retirement from first team hockey after a long and successful career with club and country.

A combination of work and family commitments have led to her decision, although she will line out for the Deramore club's second string when time permits.

The 34-year-old, who won 117 caps for Ireland, believes she has stood down from top-flight action with Harlequins in good shape - and the theory is looking well-founded with a Denman Ulster Shield semi-final with Randalstown on Sunday.

In addition, Quins are in pole position in the Premier League after narrowly avoiding ninth place last season when only a superior goal difference left them ahead of Lisnagarvey.

"I decided that I cannot commit to first team hockey any more," says Jenny. "I recently got promotion in my job and I'm now director of Offshore Investment, a global media company.

"I'm managing our Belfast office, editing a magazine and travelling to events around the world and, between work and hockey, I was sacrificing family time.

"My daughter Rebecca is now 21 months, so I decided it would be best if I played only for the Seconds when I can.

"The Firsts are going very well under new coach Davy Frazer, so there's a great opportunity as we build for the future, and that made it an easy decision to step aside after 20 years with the Quins and just short of a decade with Ireland."

Harlequins go in to Sunday's game at Stormont as favourites against Randalstown after beating them 3-0 in the league at the weekend, leaving opposition coach Harry McNeill with a headache.

Lurgan, who are second in the table, should just about have the edge against Queen's in the second semi-final but the students will be in confident mood following an impressive 6-1 win over Armagh on Saturday.

At national level the EY Irish Hockey League continues with a weekend double-header but the Ulster Elks will be missing Shirley McCay for both game.

Ireland's most-capped player will sit out the Elks' most difficult assignments to date, away to unbeaten Railway Union and leaders Hermes as she is coaching the Ulster U18 boys team in their inter-provincials.

Pegasus will be hoping to make it three wins on the bounce as they prepare to take on UCD and UCC at Upper Malone.

Ards host the Cork students on Saturday and then travel to Dublin to face Pembroke.

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