Queen’s University secured an important win over Lurgan in the weekend’s top Ulster Premier league clash at Upper Malone as they defeated the reigning champions 3-2, Jessica McMaster and Jodie Kee each scoring one of the goals and providing an assist for another, writes John Flack.
The students looked to have been home and hosed midway through the second-half when two goals in as many minutes saw them over 3-1 up.But Lurgan refused to lie down and, after pulling a goal back, they came mighty close to securing a draw had it not been for the brilliance of Sarah McCabe in the home goal.
It was the visitors who took the lead in the 13th minute when Sarah McClure set up Jo-Ann Wilson, who scored from close-range.
However, McMaster’s alertness eight minutes later was to prove decisive as she pounced on a loose piece of play 22 metres out and drifted into the circle and cracked a trademark backhand shot low into the far corner for the equaliser.
Carly Johnston almost made it 2-1 to Lurgan in the 25th minute but McCabe saved well from point-blank range.
Queen’s got the go-ahead goal in the 54th minute when good work by Kee down the right saw her pull the ball across the face of goal for Claire Whiteside to scramble home.
Two minutes later, McMaster drove into the circle again and reverse-sticked the ball to the far post where Kee deflected it home to make it 3-1.
Queen’s seemed to take the foot off the gas, perhaps believing they had done enough, and they were soon to be punished as McClure hammered home a set-piece with eight minutes left.
McCabe then prevented an equaliser when got down well to save from Lauren Wright, who sent the rebound wide as Queen’s heaved a sigh of relief having sealed a somewhat nervy but vitally important win.
Elsewhere, there were also wins for Mossley over North Down (4-1), Ballymoney against Banbridge (2-0) and Dungannon over Portadown (3-1) while the game between Rainey and Randalstown ended scoreless.
Lauren Mulholland, Sophie McDowell, Nicola McMillan and Rebecca McCullough scored for Mossley after North Down had taken an early lead.
Olivia Mullan got both the goals for Ballymoney while Laura White, Sarah Armstrong and Karen Elliott were on target for Dungannon with Ellen Henry replying for the Ports.
In Senior One, Claire Gillespie scored twice for Ballymena in an impressive 4-1 win over CI while Lisnagarvey and Raphoe had to work hard for narrow wins over Omagh and Ballyclare respectively.
Priorians have made a good start on their return to the second-tier and Emma Allen was the two-goal heroine in the 2-0 away win over Victorians in the late slot at the Dub.
In the men’s Kirk Cup, Mossley joined Instonians, Kilkeel and Civil Service in the semi-finals after scoring twice in the last five minutes to beat Portadown 3-2.
The semi-finals will see Kilkeel play Instonians and Mossley face Civil Service in a double-header next month.
Service scored a surprise 3-1 victory over Inst while Newry were 3-1 winners over South Antrim and North Down defeated Queen’s 3-2.
Kirk Cup: Mossley 3 (S Todd 2, J Robinson) Portadown 2 (S Johnston, J Brown); Newry 3 (D England 2, A Irwin) South Antrim 1 (P Maguire); Civil Service 3 (C Bannister 2, C Barnes) Instonians 1 (G Leckey); Queen’s 2 (C Anderson, J Hermon) North Down 3 (G McKeown 2, J Moore)
Linden Cup: Bangor 15 (R Cunningham 4, C Campbell 3, D McClune 2, M McCombe, R Tate, J Easlie, A Martin, A Reading, A Watson) Armagh 0; Cliftonville 1 (S Abbass) Antrim 5 (S Clyde 3, A McBride, R McClintock); Raphoe 3 (S Goudie 2, J Devenney) Ballynahinch 0.
Ulster Premier League: Ballymoney 2 (Mullan 2) Banbridge 0; North Down 1 Mossley 4 (Mulholland, McDowell, McMillan, McCullough); Portadown 1 (Henry) Dungannon 3 (White, Armstrong, K Elliott); Queen’s 3 (McMaster, Whiteside, Kee) Lurgan 2 (Wilson, McClure); Rainey 0 Randalstown 0.
Senior One: Ballymena 4 (Reynolds, Young, Gillespie 2) CI 1 (Ternahan); Omagh 1 (Pinkerton) Lisnagarvey 2 (Walker, Houston); Raphoe 3 (Smyth 2, Harpur) Ballyclare 2 (Dixon, Jones); Victorians 0 Priorians 2 (Allen 2)