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Quins blow as broken thumb rules out Claire

By John Flack

Belfast Harlequins will be without key defender Claire Kilpatrick for two crucial EY Irish Hockey League games over the next fortnight which will go a long way towards determining whether or not her team can steer clear of the drop zone.

The luckless Quins captain fractured her thumb in a recent game with Pegasus, which was her comeback appearance after sitting out the action for six weeks with a broken knuckle.

Following a 6-0 drubbing by Railway Union at Deramore on Saturday, Kilpatrick's team are second bottom with only a superior goal difference separating them from Ulster Elks, who lost 1-0 to Cork Harlequins.

Quins host the Jordanstown side this weekend and then must travel to Dublin to play an improving Pembroke who moved a point clear of the two Ulster outfits after holding Pegasus to a 1-1 draw on Saturday.

"I certainly have been unlucky with injuries and while they haven't been serious they have been bad enough to mean that I haven't been able to hold a hockey stick," said Kilpatrick.

"We have enjoyed the season so far despite our points total and we are enjoying the pace and the challenge and we are learning off all the teams and individuals we are playing against.

"We are trying to become more 'game smart' but even though we only have four points, we have competed in most of our games, apart from Saturday's when we were very rusty and did not match Railway's pace."

Former Ireland striker Kate Dillon scored two of the goals with Anna May Whelan, Orla Fox, Zara Delany and Kate Orr also on target.

Ulster Elks produced a much better display but went down to a first half goal from Michelle Barry in Cork.

Pegasus were the only Ulster side to muster a point but they will regard it as two dropped as they could only draw 1-1 with Pembroke in Dublin.

Jilly Ringwood scored early on to put the Leinster side ahead and Pegasus squandered a bucket load of chances before Michelle Harvey converted their 12th penalty corner in the 47th minute for the equaliser.

Ards were beaten 4-0 by leaders Monkstown where Ireland star Anna O'Flanagan hit a hat-trick, with the other goal coming from Chloe Watkins.

"We were missing a few key players in Tamara Macleod, Emma Reid and Katy Bennett and that made it difficult going down with a small squad," said Ards captain Caroline Adams.

At domestic level, Ulster Premier League champions Lurgan fell to a surprise 1-0 defeat against Randalstown, Katy Aston's 47th minute goal separating the teams.

Ballymoney have taken over at the top of the table after a hat-trick from former Ireland player Bridget Cleland helped them to a 5-1 home win over Dungannon.

Tori Hastings and Stefanie McCullough each scored twice as Queen's won 6-1 at Portadown while North Down defeated fellow strugglers Lisnagarvey 3-2.

EY IHL: Belfast Harlequins 0 Railway 6 (K Dillon 2, A-M Whelan, O Fox, Z Delany, K Orr); Cork Harlequins 1 (M Barry) Ulster Elks 0; Monkstown 4 (A O'Flanagan 3, C Watkins) Ards 0; Loreto 0 UCD 1; Pembroke 1 (J Ringwood) Pegasus 1 (M Harvey)

Ulster Premier League: Ballymoney 5 (B Cleland 3, N Parke, R Sutherland) Dungannon 1 (K Elliott); Lurgan 0 Randalstown 1 (K Aston); North Down 3 (O Brown, R Lucas, B Brittain) Lisnagarvey 2 (J Flynn, J McQueen); Portadown 1 (S Livingstone) Queen's 6 (T Hastings 2, S McCullough 2, J McMaster, A Hutchinson)

Senior One: CI Ladies 0 Mossley 4 (L McKee 2, Z McIlwaine, S McDowell); Cookstown 1 (R Stewart) Larne 3 (B McFerran 2, S Ward); Knock 1 (J Doak) Ballymena 1 (C Gillespie); Rainey 1 (R Burns) Ballyclare 0

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