Dungannon soar to top of Ulster Premier League

Dungannon have taken over at the top of the women’s Ulster Premier League table after a 2-1 win over Randalstown at the Tyrone venue on Saturday, writes John Flack.

It’s been a tremendous season so far for Dungannon who have dropped just one point from seven outings as the half-way mark draws near.

Jill Elliott put the hosts ahead in the 15th minute but Town levelled matters before the breakthrough Nicole Mott. Georgina McMullan scored the winner from the penalty spot in the 45th minute to secure Dungannon another excellent scalp.

Action from Queens vs Lisnagarvey in the women’s Irish Junior Cup. Pic: Billy Pollock

Ballymoney, who had won their six previous games, were held to a 1-1 draw by Mossley, who are also having a fine campaign in their first season in the top-flight of Ulster hockey.

Nikki McMillan scored in the first half at the Joey Dunlop Centre before Rachel Minihan levelled after the break to rescue Money a point.

Rainey, who have joined Mossley in the top-tier for the first time this season have been enduring a tougher time but they secured their first win on Saturday. It was an important three points as they came against their fellow-strugglers North Down, Koren Ferguson hitting a hat-trick in the 3-0 victory in Magherafelt.

Banbridge, who started the day at the foot of the standings, have moved off the basement following a hard-fought 2-1 success over Ulster Elks at Havelock Park.

Charley Brush, who was a member of the local Academy’s All-Ireland winning team last season, hit the winner after Judith Allen had equalised Paula Haugh’s opener.

In Senior One, Lisnagarvey maintained their 100% record with a comfortable 3-0 win over CI Ladies at Comber Road, where two goals from Rachel Hewitt and one from Scarlet Holdsworth sealed the deal.

Raphoe kept in promotion contention with a narrow success over improving Armagh, Emma Harpur scoring the only goal of the game at Royal & Prior.

Victorians edged out Omagh 3-2 in Tyrone after trailing 1-0 at the break and then going 3-1 up with two goals from Emily Cutrona and one from Kim Porter before Aimee Buchanan’s late response.

Ballyclare defeated Priorians by the same scoreline with goals from Jade Purdy, Tori Wallace and Jessica West with Grace Hand and Nicola Lowry replying for the Co Derry visitors.

Ballymena, who will meet Garvey in the Senior Cup final on December 31st, crushed Knock 10-0 at the Co Antrim venue where Claire Gillespie hit four and Rebekah Reynolds weighed in with a hat-trick.

In the Irish Junior Cup, goals from Beth Ravey and Annabel Hylands gave Queen’s a 2-0 win over Lisnagarvey while Becky Gamble was on the mark for Harlequins in a 1-0 victory over Muckross and Ulster Elks had a walkover against Ashton.

In the men’s Ulster Premier League, leaders Bangor threw away a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 with Belfast Harlequins while title favourites Instonians were held 1-1 by Mossley.

Chris Campbell and Ryan Burgess scored to put the seasiders in the driving seat but Quins struck back through Adam Tweed and Jonny Wilson, with all the goals coming in a frantic first half.

Stephen Kelso got the Instonians equaliser 12 minutes after the break at the Glade after Ryan Lyall had put the Kirk Cup finalists in front in the 26th minute while there were also wins for Civil Service, Portadown and South Antrim.

Service defeated Antrim 4-3 helped by two goals from the prolific Chris Barnes as Jason Roe’s hat-trick for Antrim was all in vain.

Matty Winter and Jordan Brown got the goals for the Ports in their 2-0 win over Queen’s while South piled more misery on Raphoe with a 6-1 success in Donegal where Johnny Brown and Chris Henry each scored twice.

The game between North Down and Newry ended in a 1-1 draw with Keith McWilliams on target for the border team after Josh Gilmore had put the Comber side ahead.

Action from Queen’s vs Portadown in the Ulster Premier League. Pic: Billy Pollock

Bann’s seconds were among the five Ulster men’s teams to progress to the third round of the Irish Junior Cup, Rory Woods hitting a hat-trick in a 5-2 win over YMCA.

Will Millar got both Instonians goals in a 2-0 win over Cork C of I while there were also victories for Kilkeel, Lisnagarvey and North Down.

Meanwhile, the countdown is for Wednesday’s McCullough Cup final between Friends’ and Sullivan Upper at Lisnagarvey (2pm).

Andrew Edgar was the hat-trick hero on as Friends’ defeated Methodist College 3-1 to move within 70 minutes of a first McCullough triumph for 37 years.

Friends’ led 2-0 at half-time but rode their luck a little at the start of the second period as Methody went close on a couple of occasions. The Belfast lads did pull a goal back but any chance of a comeback was dashed shortly afterwards when Edgar completed his treble.

Edgar broke the deadlock early on when he sent a drag flick high into the net following a penalty corner.
He added a second goal in similar fashion before the break to leave Methody with it all to do.

But they fought back gallantly and struck the crossbar and then forced Friend’s keeper Ryan Kirkpatrick into a great save.

Methody eventually reduced the deficit when team captain Michael Patterson netted a set-piece. However, Friends’ wrapped up the win when Edgar completed his hat-trick seven minutes later from yet another corner to send his team into the final.

Ulster Premier: Ballymoney 1 (R Minihan) Mossley 1 (N McDowell); Banbridge 2 (P Haugh, C Brush) Ulster Elks 1 (J Allen); Dungannon 2 (J Elliott, G Mulligan) Randalstown 1 (N Mott); Rainey 3 (K Ferguson 3) North Down 0; Portadown v Lurgan postponed.

Senior One: Ballyclare 3 (J Purdy, T Wallace, J West) Priorians 2 (G Hand, N Lowry); Ballymena 10 (C Gillespie 4, R Reynolds 3, A Logan, C McCracken, E Anderson) Knock 0; Lisnagarvey 3 (R Houston 2, S Holdsworth) CI 0; Omagh 2 (L Pinkerton, A Buchanan) Victorians 3 (E Cutrona 2, K Porter); Raphoe 1 (E Harpur) Armagh 0.

Ulster Premier League: Bangor 2 (C Campbell, R Burgess) Belfast Harlequins 2 (A Tweed, J Wilson); Mossley 1 (R Lyall) Instonians 1 (S Kelso); Queen’s 0 Portadown 2 ( Winter, J Brown); Civil Service 4 (C Barnes 2, C Bannister, M Willis) Antrim 3 (J Rowe 3); Raphoe 1 (W Kilpatrick) South Antrim 6 (J Brown 2, C Henry 2, A Glass, R Brown); North Down 1 J Gilmore) Newry 1 (K McWilliams).

McCullough Cup semi-final: Friends’ 3 (A Edgar 3) Methody 1 (M Patterson)

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