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Lynsey McCullough returns for Ulster after injury nightmare

By John Flack

Lynsey McCullough returns to the Ulster team for the weekend's senior inter-provincial trip to Midleton in Co Cork after a three-year injury absence.

The 25-year-old former Irish Federation Cup player last appeared for the province in Galway in 2013 when she aggravated a wrist injury which required surgery.

But she has now recovered fully and, this season, reached the final of the inaugural Co Down championship in Hillsborough and the Ulster Open at the Boat Club.

Kerri Russell also makes a comeback after winning at Ballycastle and making the last four at the Ulster Open.

Three-time Ulster champion Lucy Octave and the McCullough twins, Annie and Caitlin, all of whom will be heading to the United States for scholarships in the autumn, complete the ladies team.

The men's line-up includes one new cap in doubles specialist Michael Blease, who has risen to new heights despite never having played for the province at junior level.

The 24-year-old said: "I actually only took up tennis at the age of 15, having previously played badminton mainly.

"I then gave up sport completely for a couple of years to do other things but moving to Windsor last year turned everything around for me.

"I became a lot more dedicated and decided to give tennis my total commitment and I am thrilled to have been picked for Ulster after all the hard work paid off."

Karl Donaldson returns to the team after injury ruled him out last year with regulars Przemek Stec, Alex Watt and Aaron Stubbs completing the line-up.

Meanwhile, Ulster players drew a blank in the qualifying event for the ITF junior world ranking tournament in Dundalk over the weekend.

However, several locals, including Peter Corrie, a winner at the Belfast version at Windsor last week, Ben McClurg, Laura Reid and Jessica Leeman have secured automatic entry into the first round of the main draw, which is due to get under way today.

Ulster senior inter-pro team: men: Przemek Stec (Windsor), Alex Watt (Hilden), Karl Donaldson (ATT), Aaron Stubbs (Donaghadee), Michael Blease (Windsor); women: Lucy Octave (Donaghadee), Lynsey McCullough (Boat Club), Kerri Russell (ATT), Annie McCullough (Windsor), Caitlin McCullough (Windsor); non-playing captain: Stuart McQuitty (Ulster Tennis).

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