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Stefanie strikes to secure Bann's semi-final spot

 

By John Flack

Stefanie McCullough has made a huge impact since joining Banbridge from Queen's and on Saturday hit the winner as her team defeated Rainey 1-0 in Magherafelt to book their place in the semi-finals of the Denman Ulster Shield for the first time.

During the week, the striker hit a hat-trick in a 3-1 win over Ulster Elks after last season getting among the goals against Randalstown as Queen's lifted the President's Cup.

McCullough, who left the student side to be closer to her Kilkeel home, where she is undertaking a placement, will clearly be an influential figure as Bann aim to consolidate their position in the top-flight, having stayed up after their debut at that level.

Newly-promoted Mossley are looking good for a place in the last four in the same group and a point from tonight's game with Portadown at the Glade (8.15pm) will be enough to see them progress.

Ulster Elks can still advance if Mossley were to lose tonight after the Jordanstown team got their first win with a 5-1 away victory at Portadown, where Judith Allen got two of the goals.

Queen's are also through to the knock-out stages of the Shield after a decisive 4-1 win over holders Lurgan in a repeat of last year's final.

Irish international Jessica McMaster scored two of the Queen's goals with new signings Emily McStea, who was on target against her former club, and Erin Getty also on the scoresheet.

However, Simon Bell's team had to work hard for their win after coming from behind following Jo-Anne Wilson's first-half opener.

The Queen's coach said: "We hit four goals in the space of 13 minutes shortly after half-time but, after that, they came at us really strongly and 4-1 was a bit flattering to us."

Lurgan are still favourites to grab second place with a likely runners-up decider to come against Dungannon. Ballymoney aren't out of contention though after a 2-0 win over North Down at Comber.

Results: Ulster Shield: Pool A: Randalstown 1 (CJ McDonald) Dungannon 3 (L White, L Elliott, A McKay); Portadown 1 (L Cassells) Ulster Elks 5 (J Allen 2, H Irwin, A Hamilton, S Atkinson); Rainey 0 Banbridge 1 (S McCullough); Pool B: Lurgan 1 (J-A Wilson) Queen's 4 (E McStea, E Getty, J McMaster 2); North Down 0 Ballymoney 2 (C Stacy, O Mullan); Senior Cup: Pool A: Ballymena 3 (E Clarke, K Young, K Craig) Priorians 1; Omagh 0 Victorians 3 (J Orr, R Hewitt, E Cutrona); CI 0 Raphoe 2 (E Harper, S Patterson).

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