Queen’s take on Ulster Premier favourites status

With Ulster Premier leaders Ballymoney becoming the latest team to falter on Rainey’s indoor pitch at Meadowbank, Queen’s now have the look of women’s Ulster Premier title favourites following a 3-0 win over Mossley on Saturday but champions Lurgan are in hot pursuit, writes John Flack.

Rainey are certainly determined not to give up their top-flight status without a fight as they held Money to a 2-2 draw thanks to a spectacular last-gasp equaliser from Betty Scott.

Queen’s celebrate Tori Hastings’ penalty stroke goal. Pic: Billy Pollock (click for more pics)

A week earlier, Queen’s had been held to a scoreless draw by Richie McGaw’s team but they responded in style against the other of the two sides that secured promotion last season.

Emily McStea started the ball rolling when she fired home the opener in the 17th minute and Tori Hastings added a second from the penalty spot before the break.

Hastings sealed the win early in the second half when she again netted from the spot and the students’ win saw them move into second place in the table. However, they have three games in hand over Ballymoney and are just four points behind.

Dungannon trail only on goal difference in third place while Lurgan are just three points behind Queen’s after a 2-1 win at the Tyrone venue. Jo-Anne Wilson scored Lurgan’s opener in the 26th minute and Sarah McClure added a second two minutes after the break before Samantha Kelly pulled on back.

In the other Premier game, Randalstown fought back from 2-0 down midway through the second half to draw 2-2 at Havelock Park. Goals from Olivia Berry and Rachel Kerr put Banbridge in the driving seat before Katherine McDowell and CJ McDonald replied in the last 16 minutes.

In Senior One, Lisnagarvey continue to set the pace after goals from Jenna McQueen and Rachel Houston sealed a 3-0 win over Priorians.

Elsewhere, Ballyclare were 2-1 winners over Knock, Omagh beat CI 2-0 and Raphoe and Victorians shared the points after a 4-4 draw in Donegal where the home team scored twice in last 10 minutes after withdrawing their keeper and earlier trailing 2-0.

In the first set of games in the men’s Premier after the split, Instonians romped to a 5-0 win over South Antrim with goals from Chris Barnes and Gavin Lecky, who got two apiece, and Dane Ward.

Elsewhere, Mossley were 3-0 winners over Belfast Harlequins and Kilkeel’s Luke Russell hit a treble in a 4-2 victory at Portadown.

Ulster Premier League: Portadown 2 (G Titler, R Scott) Kilkeel 4 (L Russell 3, G Russell); South Antrim 0 Instonians 5 (C Barnes 2, G Leckey 2, D Ward); Mossley 3 (J Robinson, A Bell, J Cathcart) Belfast Harlequins 0; North Down 4 (G McKeown 2, J Gilmore 2) Queen’s 1).

Ulster Premier: Banbridge 2 (O Berry, R Kerr) Randalstown 2 (K McDowell, CJ McDonald); Dungannon 1 (S Kelly) Lurgan 2 (J Wilson, S McClure); Queen’s 3 (E McStea, T Hastings 2) Mossley 0; Rainey 2 (K Ferguson, B Scott) Ballymoney 2 (J Hamilton, N Parke)

Senior One: Ballyclare 2 (Z King, K Dixon) Knock 1 (A Trimble); Omagh 2 (A Buchanan, E Shortt) CI 0; Priorians 0 Lisnagarvey 3 (J McQueen 2, R Houston); Raphoe 4 (S Barnett 2, S Patterson, E Harpur) Victorians 4 (E Conlin, E Cutrona 2, J Orr).

Mossley score against Belfast Harlequins. Pic: Philip McCloy (click for more pictures)

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