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Organisers hailed as weather fails to thwart Belfast Telegraph Senior Schools' Cup final

By Graham Hamilton

All sorts of inclement weather couldn't prevent the Belfast Telegraph Senior Schools' Cup final between Methodist College Belfast and Sullivan Upper from going ahead yesterday.

It was the overnight snow that proved the first disruption, leaving the Lisnagarvey pitch unplayable.

And then came the hail just after lunchtime as the busloads of pupils made their way to the alternative venue at the University of Ulster campus at Jordanstown.

And lastly came the rain and the chilly and blustery wind which swept across the pitch, particularly during the early part of the game.

But even that couldn't stop the cacophony of noise from the big four-figure crowd as they cheered on the teams in what was the 110th final of this prestigious Ulster schoolgirls competition.

In the end it was a goal from Methody captain Katie Larmour that separated the sides and it will be the Belfast school who will now go on to represent Ulster in the All-Ireland finals next week.

The schools' committee had little option but to switch the game rather than postpone it, due to the proximity of those Kate Russell All-Ireland finals, but in the end everything worked out well.

Ulster Hockey president Davy Larmour said: "The committee worked wonders to sort things out despite the poor weather and it has turned out to be a great occasion."

That was a decision with which Methody captain Katie - Davy's niece - wholeheartedly agreed.

"We were a bit stressed out in the morning when we thought we weren't going to get a game, so all credit to the organisers for setting up the rearrangements," she said.

"And now that we have won, we can look forward to going to Limerick for the Kate Russell competition.

"The Ulster final was a difficult one for us, but we went in as the underdogs and that's not always a bad thing.

"Credit to Sullivan who made it hard for us throughout.

"They were the holders and we had every respect for them.

"But overall it has been an enjoyable day for us, and our coaches, and one we all won't forget in a hurry."

And did she get any recognition from her uncle, the Ulster Branch president who insisted beforehand that in his position he was going to have to remain neutral?

"Yes, he had a big smile for me when I went to collect the trophy and my medal at the presentation ceremony," she said.

It was bitter disappointment, though, for Sullivan and naturally there were a few tears shed at the end.

Some had enjoyed the ecstasy of winning last year and found it hard when on the other side of the coin this time.

Sullivan captain Katharine Hill said afterwards: "Congratulations to Methody, and good luck in the All-Ireland finals next week.

"We're disappointed but on the day they deserved their win."

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