Women's Hockey

Ulster Elks are Intervarsity Champions!

University of Ulster sports stars have triumphed in the all-Ireland hockey intervarsity at Jordanstown with both the men and women’s teams winning the finals.

Both sides beat UCD in their respective deciders with the men winning 2-0, to win their third intervarsity title in a row, and the women taking the title with a dramatic 2-1 victory.

French international scholar Philippine Berly, scored from a penalty corner in the second half to level the match 1-1 for the women after UCD took the lead when Irish International Lisa Jacob picked out Rachel Burke un marked in the circle.

That’s how it finished in normal time and the game went to extra-time golden goal.  UCD could’ve broken Ulster hearts if it wasn’t for goalkeeper Dawn Millar making a fantastic save early into extra time.  However, it was a minute from the end, when another of Ulster’s international scholars Suman Bala slotted the ball home from another penalty corner to secure the Chilean Cup for the hosts.

International scholar Suman is a gold medal winner with India, which she won in the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.

Team captain Sarah Ralph said: “It’s really brilliant for all the girls. For a lot of the players this will be their last year playing intervarsity hockey and to win it is just amazing. It has been a long time coming and beating a team that knocked us out of the semi-final of ESB Irish Senior Cup last year makes it a bit sweeter.”

Ralph, who is studying a Masters degree in Physical Activity and Population Health, said the competition was tight throughout and the team put on some big displays to win.

On the way to lifting the cup, the Ulster students finished runners-up in their group having beat QUB and CIT, and securing a semi-final spot with draws against UCD and Trinity College Dublin.

Last year the Ulster students were beaten in the semi-final by University College Cork (UCC) but turned that result around in this year’s knockout stage to win 3-1 and head to the final against group opponents UCD.

Ulster’s men had an easier passage to the final as they topped their group with wins over Trinity College Dublin, Royal College of Surgeons and DCU.

They also beat UCC in the semi-final with a comfortable 7-0 score line, before Chris O’Flaherty scored twice in the final and send the side on their way to lift the Mauritius Cup.

University of Ulster Focus Sport Development and Events Officer and tournament organiser, Ricky Lee, said: “It’s fantastic for the University to win the double. I would like to thank everyone for their help in organising the tournament, including David Foster, Mossley Hockey Club and to thank the Ulster Hockey Union for their continued support.  With Ulster School Boys and Girls winning a clean sweep of Interprovincial Titles at the start of the month and now the University of Ulster taking both Intervarsity Titles it is certainly a great acheivement that the new Ulster Hockey Union should be proud of.”

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