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Weekend Hockey - Roundup

Just two games involving Ulster teams survived the snow at the weekend and Ards coach Gareth Grundie wasn't entirely unhappy despite a 1-0 loss to leaders UCD as his team produced an impressive display in Saturday's EY Irish Hockey League game at a wintry Belfield. 

A moment's hesitation at the back proved costly as it led to the only goal of the game, as Ards slipped to fifth in the table with a tricky encounter against Cork Harlequins to come next weekend before the Christmas break.

"We played well in patches and had chances to take something from the game so, in that regard, it was disappointing." said Grundie.

"We paid the penalty for stopping and waiting for the whistle to go after the ball hit an Ards' foot in the build up to the goal. But after that, we fought back well and had a few penalty-corners without being able to convert any of them unfortunately."

"However, we'd have probably settled for where we are in the league table, if you'd asked us at the start of the season. There are only six points separating five teams from third to seventh place and there is still a lot to play for."

UCD scored what proved to be the crucial goal after only seven minutes when Abbie Russell took advantage as Ards took their eye off the ball for a split-second as they awaited the umpire's whistle which never came.

Irish international Chloe Brown always looked dangerous on the counter-attack as Ards fought back without having many clear-cut chances to equalise in the first-half. Goalkeeper Naomi McKnight had to be alert on several occasions at the other end as Ireland captain, Katie Mullan, one of three Ulster players in the UCD squad looked threatening.

Only one game in Ulster survived the snow as Catholic Institute defeated Rainey 1-0 in the Irish Trophy at the Meadowbank indoor facility in Magherafelt. Christine O'Shea scored the Limerick side's winner from a 55th minute set-piece.

"It was a tight game and both teams had their chances early on." said Rainey coach Richie McGaw.

"We started the second half strong but couldn’t get the breakthrough. They got on top and pressed for the next 15 minutes and scored a deflected corner. We pushed forward in the last 10 but couldn’t get the goal though we won a corner on the final whistle and again their keeper saved it."

The popular Rainey coach was magnanimous in defeat and paid tribute to the Institute side, whose long journey home was at least a happy one.

"They were a great outfit and the game was played in great spirit ,very physical but everyone enjoyed it." McGaw added.

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