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Ulster trio on the march

By John Flack

All three Ulster sides captured places in the final round of qualifying for next year's EY Irish Hockey League as Randalstown, Lurgan and Belfast Harlequins progressed to the last four in the provincial play-off series.

Randalstown will meet Harlequins in the semi-finals in Dublin on Saturday after topping their group on goal difference from Lurgan at Comber Road.

Town finished their first-phase campaign in style as Irish international Zoe Wilson hit a double in a 4-1 win over Glenanne.

However, Lurgan were left sweating against Old Alex yesterday knowing that had the Dublin side added a third goal after leading 2-0 at half-time, they would have been dismissed.

Hannah McDermott, from a penalty corner, and Rebecca Evans scored early to make it a nervous second-half for the Ulster champions.

Lurgan will now meet Loreto in the semi-finals after the Leinster champions finished three points clear of Harlequins in the other pool in Dublin.

Quins were emphatic 5-0 winners over Connacht champions Galway yesterday, helped by two goals from Lucy Geddes.

Pegasus, meanwhile, will meet Railway Union in the semi-finals of this season's IHL after a 4-2 win over the Ulster Elks clinched the runners-up spot in the last game of the regulation season.

But the Elks also progressed and face Hermes in the last four after qualifying for the finals weekend by the back door after winning the Irish Senior Cup.

Results: Saturday: EY provincial play-offs: Pool A: Randalstown 4 (CJ McDonald, A Reid, A Christie, Z Wilson) Old Alex 0; Lurgan 2 (K Edgar 2) Glenanne 0; Pool B: Loreto 2 Belfast Harlequins 0; Bandon 0 Galway 1.

EY Irish Hockey League: Pegasus 4 (A Speers, K McConnell, S Ferris, S Thompson) Ulster Elks 2 (M Frazer, J McMaster); Ards 1 (C Brown) UCD 2; Hermes 5 UCC 1, Greenfields 0 Cork Harlequins 2; Railway Union 2 Pembroke Wanderers 1.

Senior One: Rainey 0 Raphoe 0.

Sunday: EY provincial play-offs: Pool A: Glenanne 1 Randalstown 4 (Z Wilson 2, K McDowell, N Moore); Lurgan 0 Old Alex 2; final placings:1. Randalstown 6pts (+6); 2. Lurgan 6 (+1); 3. Old Alex 6 (0); 4. Glenanne 0.

Pool B: Bandon 0 Loreto 2; Belfast Harlequins 5 (O Goldsworthy, L Geddes 2, C Weir, J Watt) Galway 0; final placings: 1. Loreto 9pts; 2. Belfast Harlequins 6; 3. Galway 3; 4. Bandon 0.

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