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Kelly the hero as Dungannon get on the Money

 

By John Flack

Samantha Kelly celebrated her return from a football injury to score the winning goal as Dungannon moved level on points with Ballymoney at the top of the Ulster Premier League table with a 1-0 victory over the Co Antrim side at the Joey Dunlop Centre on Saturday.

The Northern Ireland senior international, who had been suffering from concussion, struck in the 55th minute to send Money crashing to their first defeat of the campaign. Kelly believes Dungannon are capable of going all the way in just their third season in Ulster hockey.

She said: "Going in to this season our main aim was to build on last year when we finished mid-table but with our current form we really believe we could challenge for the top.

"I suppose this season has been surprising in a way but then again the girls have been working so hard in training each week and our recent results are definitely a reflection of this.

"Also, our new coach Stuart Bell is such a great motivator. He is very passionate which I think has really rubbed off on the rest of the team.

"The Money game today was tough, as expected. They are a strong side and the game was very fast paced.

"It was a good tussle but we showed we were definitely up for it and we were thankful to come out on top."

At the other end of the ­table, Stefanie McCullough hit a ­superb hat-trick as Banbridge piled more misery on basement side Portadown with a 5-0 win at Edenvilla Park.

Ulster Elks also did their hopes of avoiding relegation a power of good as goals from Shannon Atkinson and Judithe Allen gave them a 2-0 win over struggling Rainey at Jordanstown.

Ulster Premier League: Ballymoney 0 Dungannon 1 (S Kelly); Ulster Elks 2 (S Atkinson, J Allen) Rainey 0; Senior One: Armagh 1 (S Anderson) CI 0; Omagh 4 (E Short 2, A Buchanan, J Hood) Knock 1 (C Little); Priorians 0 Ballymena 1 (R Reynolds); Raphoe 2 (V Wray, S Barnett) Lisnagarvey 2 (S Holdsworth, R Houston); Victorians 1 (S Patterson) Ballyclare 0.

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