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Nadia's dream season continues as late goal keeps Bann up


By John Flack

Nadia Benallal capped a memorable few weeks for school and club on Saturday when she scored a dramatic last-gasp winner to help Banbridge secure a 2-1 victory over Raphoe which preserved their top flight status next season.

There were just five minutes left in the Ulster Premier League game at Havelock Park when the teenager fired the ball into the roof of the net after Raphoe's Leanne Patterson had cancelled out Paula Haugh's first half opener.

Nadia had earlier been instrumental in helping Banbridge Academy win the Belfast Telegraph Senior Cup for the first time in the school's history and they went on to complete the double when they were crowned all-Ireland champions 10 days ago.

Bann's win over the relegated Donegal side means Lisnagarvey finish second bottom in the table and they will now play Rainey in a play-off to determine which side will be competing in the top tier next season.

However, Garvey are currently without a coach after confirmation that David Agnew has stepped down, apparently blaming 'player-power' for his reluctant decision to quit.

He said: "The captain and vice-captain felt the team needed a different direction and voice and I felt the only option was to step aside."

"They made their feelings known after the team's recent narrow loss to Ballymoney.

"I didn't want to step down but some big personalities in the squad made it impossible for me to continue."

Meanwhile, Pegasus, whose chances of making the play-offs were already gone, fell to a 2-0 defeat by Hermes in the EY Irish Hockey League at Jordanstown.

Holders Randalstown, Queen's and Lurgan reached the semi-finals of the President's Cup after comeback wins over Ballymoney, Rainey and Garvey respectively while UCD beat Cork Harlequins 1-0 in the Irish Senior Cup final.

EYHL: Pegasus 0 Hermes-Monkstown 2 (C McGilp, A Beatty); Irish Senior Cup final: UCD (D Duke) Cork Harlequins 0; Ulster Premier League: Banbridge 2 (P Haugh, N Benallal) Raphoe 1 (L Patterson); President's Cup: first round: Lisnagarvey 1 (J Kirkwood) Lurgan 5 (L Wright 2, C Hull, R Burns, E McStea); Queen's 3 (R McKee 2, L Hamilton) Rainey 1 (C Burns); Randalstown 3 (E Clyde, CJ McDonald, N Moore) Ballymoney 1 (K Gawn)

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