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North Down prepare for life back in the Premier

North Down virtually assured their place in Ulster hockey's top flight when they beat Raphoe 3-1 at Comber on Saturday.

With the Premier League all set for restructuring, following the decision of a handful of teams to join the new fully-fledged Irish Hockey League, it means four teams are likely to be promoted from Senior One, and North Down's weekend success guarantees them a top-four finish.

The Management Board has yet to ratify the new set-up, but it's more than likely that Senior One champions South Antrim will be joined on the way up by runners-up Portadown and also North Down and Raphoe, with Queen's just missing out.

It's unlikely any teams will be relegated from the top flight.

Rowan Poots, Gareth Bailie and Tom Donnan got North Down's goals with Matthew Leckey replying for Raphoe.

Meanwhile, Ulster U21s beat Brazil's senior international team 3-1 at Mossley with their goals coming from Lisnagarvey players Sean Murray, James Lorimer and Daniel Nelson.

Finally, no Ulster teams will be contesting the Irish Junior Cup final after Lisnagarvey II lost 3-2 to Monkstown II and Annadale II lost 3-1 to Three Rock II.

Philip Stirling scored both Garvey goals but Monkstown hit back to win with a silver goal in extra-time. Chris Thompson was Annadale's marksman in Dublin.

Belfast Telegraph

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