Ballyclare High scored a dramatic 4-2 penalty shoot-out win over Rainey Endowed in the schoolgirls’ Super League final after a 1-1 draw at Stormont, writes John Flack.
Rainey went close to breaking the deadlock midway through the first half when Lauren Mulholland was unlucky to see her shot strike the post.
But it was Ballyclare who opened the scoring shortly before the break when a great run by Sophie McDowell saw Lauren McKee apply the finish.
Ballyclare goalie Gemma Ferguson brought off a superb save from a Mulholland penalty corner drag flick early in the second half. But Rainey got their reward with an equaliser nine minutes after the break when Sarah Semple drove the ball home from the edge of the circle for the equaliser.
Ballyclare, coached by Ireland star and former player Zoe Wilson, held their nerve in the shoot out to win the competition for the first time.
Erin Adams was the hat-trick heroine for Bloomfield Collegiate who defeated Foyle and Londonderry College 5-1 in the tier B final.
Erin scored three times in quick succession in the second half after the Belfast school had led 1-0 at the break, thanks to Heidi Mitchell’s goal.
Lucy Bell made it 2-0 early in the second half from a penalty corner before Adams hit her quick-fire treble, with Emma Johnston netting Foyle’s consolation two minutes from the final whistle.
Elsewhere in Ulster competition, Kilkeel are through to their first ever Kirk Cup final after an amazing comeback culminated in the Co Down side defeating Instonians 3-1 in a penalty shoot-out after a 2-2 draw at a rain-lashed Mossley on Wednesday night.
The Mourne team were staring defeat in the face when they trailed 2-0 with only eight minutes left but they scored twice in quick succession to force the penalty decider.
Inst made a dream start when they took the lead in the first minute after Stuart McWilliams beat the Kilkeel keeper at the second attempt.
And it looked like curtains for the Co Down side when William Robinson converted a penalty corner in the 15th minute to make it 2-0 at the break.
However, Eddie Agnew started the fightback in the 62nd minute when he pulled one back and, within 60 seconds, David Finlay netted the equaliser to force the shoot-out.
Kilkeel will meet Mossley in the final on St Stephens Day after the Newtownabbey team defeated Civil Service 5-2 in the first semi-final at Shaw’s Bridge on Tuesday night.
Service got off to the perfect start when Thomas Priestley gave them the lead from a third minute penalty corner.
Joel Cathcart levelled in the 15th minute and Stephen Hamill to make it 2-1 to Mossley within two minutes but Ross Anderson equalised on the stroke of half time.
Jordan Robinson restored Mossley’s lead from the penalty spot early in the second half and Cathcart then got his second of the night to make it 4-2.
Robinson sealed Mossley’s win when he wrapped things up with his second goal two minutes from the end when he sent a set-piece high into the net.