Portadown Under-13 Girls hockey team were crowned Under-13 Ulster Hockey champs last weekend. Over 34 clubs competed at the Ulster Hockey finals day with the Portadown girls coming through to win the coveted U13 youth title.
In the group stages Portadown won their opening matches 2-0 against Grosvenor, 2-0 against Carrick and 1-0 against Ballymoney and as the tournament went on there was a clear improvement in Portadown’s play beating South Antrim 4-0 and Owls 4-0.
Portadown went through as pool winners where they were drawn against Rainey and Pegasus. Both of these teams demonstrated they had made it through their pools stages on merit as Portadown were met with strong resistance. First up was Rainey and Portadown required some solid defensive work. They finally got the break when they hit the net to win 1-0 in the final quarter of the game. Portadown also met a strong Pegasus team in the next game and failed for the first time to find a goal with the match finishing 0-0. Despite this, the U13 girls went through to a semi-final clash against Belfast Harlequins.
The semi-final was an enthralling end to end match with both teams going close only for the game to require extra time golden goal to decide the outcome. During this period Portadown stepped it up gear and blitzed the Harlequin’s goal until they finally got a super team goal to win 1-0.
This set up a final against Dromore who had beaten Bangor in the other semi-final. Portadown saved their best performance of the day for this match. Portadown exerted pressure from the outset and got an early goal. A second goal followed before play was briefly stopped due to a Dromore injury with both sets of players, officials and supporters showing their concern. When play was resumed Portadown added a third goal to make sure the much sought after U13 title headed down the M1 to Portadown. This was achieved with Portadown netting 17 goals and conceding 0 demonstrating a solid team performance throughout.
The U13 title is a fitting outcome to a group of girls who have being playing together since they were in P1, and a great tribute to the Portadown coaches.
The winning team was: Elise McClelland, Anna Cowan, Cassia Herron, Lucy Craig, Maia Lutton, Maisy Corry, Amy Black, Jodie Simmons and Hannah Armstrong.