Women’s National Indoor Trophy final
Railway Union 6 (A-M Whelan 2, I Joyce 2, C Joyce, O Fox) Ards 1 (B Weir)
Railway Union ended Ards’ incredible run in the National Indoor Trophy as they ran up a 6-1 success over the eight in-a-row chasing Ulster side.
In so doing, they won the crown for the first time since 2010 and assured themselves of a place in Europe in 2020.
Orla Fox was hugely influential throughout and made her presence felt in a dream start. Inside 25 seconds, she burst forward down the right boards, slipping under her arm to Isobel Joyce who finished off.
In the fifth minute, Fox again was on the rampage, breaking in between a couple of tackles and drawing a foul for their first corner. She slotted her shot for a 2-0 lead.
And it got even better for Railway when Lily Lloyd wriggled free and tested Naomi McKnight. The goalkeeper saved but Anna May When was on hand to rebound for 3-0 in the seventh minute.
Fox also saved a couple off the line from corners before Ards got one back before half-time when Francesca Brown’s shot was blocked by a body and Becky Weir slotted the stroke.
Railway, though, restored the three-goal lead in the second half with Whelan again pouncing after Holly Jenkinson’s run saw the ball spin out to the left post.
And the game was out of reach for Ards when Isobel Joyce got to the right endline and found a gap to shoot home a fifth goal for Railway. The Ulster side removed their goalkeeper for the final stages but it backfired when Cecelia Joyce finished into an open goal for 6-1.
It ended one of the most spectacular runs of success in Irish hockey as Ards, champions since 2012, finally relinquished their crown.
They missed the dynamic presence of Chloe Brown who was simultaneously playing for East Grinstead in the English Jaffa Super 6s, landing their national title with a 10-2 success against Buckingham.
For Railway, it means a European indoor campaign to look forward to in 2020; they will find out at what level in three weeks time depending how Ards fare in Douai, France.
Railway Union: C Crampton, I Joyce, C Joyce, H Jenkinson, O Fox, A-M Whelan, H de Burgh Whyte, J Long, K McKenna, L Lloyd
Ards: N McKnight, B Weir, N Grundie, F Brown, C Adams, H Platt, A Benson, K Harvey, J Vaughan
Umpires: T Schafer, L Clifford
National Indoor Trophy
Semi-finals: Ashton 0 Railway Union 11; Ards 5 Galway 1
Third place playoff: Ashton 3 Galway 3, Galway win shoot-out 3-1
Final: Ards 1 (B Weir) Railway Union 6 (I Joyce 2, A-M Whelan 2, C Joyce, O Fox)