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Old friends Louise and Carolyn are Cup final foes

Women's hockey

By John Flack

Former Irish international Carolyn Burns won every trophy on offer during her time at Randalstown and she will be hoping to add a Senior Cup medal to her considerable collection on New Year's Day when she lines out for Rainey against Mossley at Deramore (1.00pm).

The 56-year-old will be in direct opposition to former Town team-mate Louise Creighton, who can also boast a bulging trophy cabinet from her days with the club.

The Senior Cup is restricted to teams from the second tier of Ulster hockey so neither woman had a chance to get their hands on it when previously playing at the top level.

However, that will obviously change on Sunday afternoon when one player will go home happy and the other a little bit disappointed.

It's a tough one to call as both teams are unbeaten so far in Senior One and have their sights firmly set on getting back into the top-flight for another season at least.

"Louise is always tough to play against and because she has so much experience she adds a different dimension to her young team," said Burns.

"But it will be great to meet up with her once again.

"Rainey have had a good first half of the season, so we need to try and continue to produce the same consistent results for the second part of the league campaign.

"That's our priority but the Senior Cup is a nice distraction and it would be great to win it, having reached the final for the first time.

"Last season, we narrowly missed out on promotion to the Premier League after losing to Raphoe on penalties.

"But I'm not sure we were ready to go up at that time whereas another year in Senior One has been a really good experience for our young players.

"It's a very good standard in this league and we are continuing to improve and build as a new club, and the cup final will provide the younger girls with more valuable experience."

Creighton, meanwhile, is also looking forward to the big game and is expecting a close contest after the corresponding clash in the pool phase of the competition back in September ended in stalemate.

"I'm looking forward to the final very much and playing against Carolyn in particular, but for Mossley the league is the priority, although a cup win would be great," said the experienced team captain.

"At first, we thought maybe a season or two in Senior One might have been the situation before the Premier beckoned but we realised quite quickly into the campaign that promotion was very much achievable.

"So, really that's our priority and we will just go out and try to enjoy the cup final and hopefully win it.

"The girls are such a young squad, so for them it's a great occasion to be playing in any cup final at whatever level.

"It's quite surreal having played for Randalstown for so long with Carolyn, and now here we are both playing for different teams in a cup final.

"When we played in the competition's group stages it was a 2-2 draw after us being 2-0 up, so that shows that it is likely to be a close game.

"I guess it's just about who takes their chances best on the day and sometimes a little bit of luck can control the outcome in close games like this.

"I can't ask more from my girls other than what they give every week, and that should be enough on the day.

"From a personal point of view, it's been a great three seasons since coming back to Mossley and I've loved every minute as that is my home.

"Mossley is where I started playing hockey and, after a successful spell away, it is where I will finish it.

"But maybe after a season in the Premier League, if my body allows it! "

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