Sports

In-form Royal are up for the cup!

Thursday, 9 February 2017

In-form Royal are up for the cup! thumbnailRoyal School Armagh player Alana Doyle will hope to help her side edge past Wallace HS in the semi-final of the Schools' Cup.

ROYAL School Armagh are just one step away from reaching their first Ulster Senior Schoolgirls' Cup final for seven years.

This Wednesday afternoon at Lisnagarvey Hockey Club on the outskirts of Hillsborough, the College Hill outfit will take on Wallace High School in the semi-finals of the prestigious competition.

The Royal School secured their place in the final four with a 3-0 win over derby rivals Portadown College and coach Judith McVicker admitted they were made to work hard for their win.

“Portadown gave us a very tough game and they really made things difficult for us, but we kept calm and we were fantastic in both circles from a defensive point of view and in attack.

“I think the big difference between the two sides was just how clinical we were when we got in to the final third."

Standing between Armagh and a place in the final for the first time since 2010 is Wallace High School.

McVicker said that they have yet to play their Lisburn counterparts this season, but knows that her side will be in for a tough encounter.

“We haven't played them this season, so we will have to do our homework on them.

“They have a few Ulster and Irish Schools' representatives and they will be well drilled by their coach Maggie Hunter, who is a former Irish international.

“The game is at Lisnagarvey and they will have played regularly up there, so it is practically a home game for them."

McVicker said that her side have plenty of experience playing at Lisnagarvey and indeed they won the Ulster Super League title in Hillsborough back in November.

“The girls have played on the pitch a few times this season in some big Super League games, so hopefully the venue won't distract them or the large crowd that is expected.

“Hopefully we can get the whole school out for such a big occasion and we know that Wallace are going to have a huge support there!"

Like any big cup game, the difference between the two teams can be which team adapts to the conditions and settles quickest and McVicker said they will be doing whatever they can to ensure her side are ready for the clash.

“Nerves can be a good thing, but they must not let them affect their game on the day.

“Nerves an individual thing, so it up to the individual to control them.

“We will do our best as coaches to keep the girls calm and relaxed in the build up to the game."

McVicker concluded by saying that Armagh won't get ahead of themselves as they target an historic Ulster Super League and Schools' Cup double.

“It is very much a case of one game at a time for us, even at this stage.

“This year there is an added incentive for the winner of the Ulster Schools' Cup, as the winner plays host to the Kate Russell All-Ireland competition at the end of March.

“That would be an incredible opportunity to play host to some of the best young players in Ireland to come and play in Armagh and it would be a great boost for hockey in Armagh to be able to host it!"

Pass-back at Lisnagarvey Hockey Club on Wednesday, February 8 is at 2.30pm.

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