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Zara hungry for more Euro success to add to a remarkable medal haul

 

Medal mad: Zara Malseed
Medal mad: Zara Malseed

By John Flack

The majority of hockey players would be happy to lift one or two titles over the course of a career in the sport but Zara Malseed has already amassed 15 winner's medals at the age of just 21.

She has come a long way since she held the Belfast Telegraph Schools' Cup aloft as captain of the Sullivan Upper team that defeated Banbridge Academy 2-1 to claim the famous trophy for the first time back in 2015.

This weekend she will be one of several Ulster players in European action when she lines out for Edinburgh University in the Club Trophy series, which is being hosted by English Premiership outfit Holcombe in Rochester.

Zara has enjoyed a remarkable run of success since moving to Scotland to study chemical engineering, having won multiple silverware there every year since leaving Northern Ireland.

The trophy trail started even before she moved to Scotland when she was a member of the Ards squad who were crowned Ulster Premier League champions in 2015, shortly after leading Sullivan to their Schools' Cup triumph, having earlier won the Ulster Shield with her home club.

Since then she has got her hands on a staggering 12 more trophies with the Edinburgh students and this weekend will make her fourth appearance at a European tournament.

In her first year with the club, she lifted a national league title, the Scottish Cup and a European Challenge 1 winner's medal.

The following season, she captured a domestic treble, adding a play-off title to the list, with another European Challenge gold, and then another quadruple success at home and on the continent came her way in 2017-18.

In the current season, Zara helped Edinburgh win the league and although they missed out on the play-offs, there is still the Scottish Cup semi-finals and, hopefully, the final to come.

She regards the 2017-18 four-timer as her most satisfying achievement as she had the honour of captaining the Edinburgh side that swept the boards and hosted the Euro showpiece.

Zara said: "I am loving it over here; Edinburgh have a great performance programme and I also get the chance to play in the British Universities Championship."

This weekend, Zara will be up against Ireland representatives UCD, Holcombe and Russian champions Moscomsport in Europe's second tier.

UCD also have Ulster representation in the shape of Irish internationals Bethany Barr, formerly of Lurgan, and ex-Armagh star Leah McGuire.

Loreto represent Ireland in the EuroHockey Club Cup in Amsterdam at the weekend when they start their campaign against Dutch side Den Bosch on Friday before the classification matches.

Ireland captain Katie Mullan, who lined out for Ballymoney this season during the indoor hockey break, will be playing for German champions Club an der Alster in the same event.

Meanwhile, at domestic level, Randalstown and Club KV battle tomorrow night at the Dub in a promotion-relegation play-off.

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