Hockey ladies celebrate historic Senior Cup success

Ballymena Hockey Club’s ladies’ First XI clinched the first major honour in the club’s history at the weekend when they defeated Cookstown 1-0 to secure victory in the Ulster Senior Cup.

Ballymena Hockey Club First XI celebrate their Ulster Cup success over Cookstown at the weekend. Picture: Press Eye.

After spending parts of the first half under considerable pressure from their mid-Ulster opponents, Ballymena gradually began to find their rhythm.

The decisive goal came 15 minutes into the second period when Sarah Goodrich swept the ball home from a penalty corner after finding space to accept a switch at the far post.

Skipper Clare Gillespie was denied by the ‘keeper three minutes later – and then Aimee Logan shot wide from a set piece as Ballymena attempted to kill the game off.

Despite being reduced to 10 players in the closing stages after Rebekah Reynolds had been yellow-carded for dissent, Ballymena repelled any Cookstown attacks to clinch that long-awaited pieceof silverware.

Coach Mary Glass, whose own playing career had been laced with success with neighbours Randlastown, said: “It’s right up there with winning things with Randalstown in the past, although it’s obviously different being a coach rather than a player.

“This was all about the players, and I am delighted for them as they are a great bunch of girls and they have all worked very hard for this success.

“It could have gone either way, but once we weathered the early storm, I don’t think there was much between the sides and the game could have gone either way.

“We had our chances as well and we had a shot taken off the line in the second half before we scored,” added Mary.