Ballymoney claim first Premier League crown

Captain Susie Martin and Coach Bridget Cleland hold the Ulster Shield at their annual dinner.INBM18-11 233JC
Captain Susie Martin and Coach Bridget Cleland hold the Ulster Shield at their annual dinner.INBM18-11 233JC

BALLYMONEY wrote a new chapter in Ulster hockey last Thursday when they won the Premier League title for the first time in the club’s history.

And in the process, they brought to an end the wonderful run of 13 consecutive league wins for Pegasus.

Ballymoney did it the hard way - coming from behind against a strong Armagh side to win 2-1 in a thrilling second half.

Armagh were the better side in the first half with midfielder Emma Stewart outstanding. There was no score at half-time but it came as no surprise when Stewart opened the scoring nine minutes into the second half with a lovely run and a strong reverse stick shot.

The league title was slipping away from Ballymoney at this stage but the Co.Antrim side rallied strongly and in the 16th minute of the half the brilliant 17 year old Katie Mullan equalised with a magnificent reverse stick flick after good work from Jessica Lynch.

Ballymoney now threw everything into attack for the all important goal that would win them the league and again it was Mullan, surely one of the most exciting youngsters in Irish hockey, who scored from the second phase of a penalty corner.

Armagh refused to give up and they gave the Ballymoney defence a serious test in the last few minutes.

This has been a terrific season for Ballymoney who also won the Ulster Shield and had the Premier League trophy to show off at their annual dinner on Saturday night.

Captain Susie Martin, who won the title six times while playing for Pegasus, was thrilled to get the trophy from Ulster President Jennifer Patterson. as the Ballymoney captain.

“This has been a special season for us,” she said.

“The whole squad are good friends and they all work very hard together. It has been a genuine team effort”

The squad was: Manager, Liz Lamont. Jenna Holmes, Susie Martin, Angela Huey, Gail Adams, Lauren Barr, Bridget Cleland, Nikki Parke, Katie Mullan, Emma Lynch, Jessica Lynch, Aine Kearney, Jill Kennedy, Sue Ruddock, Ann Hemphill and Rachel McCahon.