Rainey Endowed’s hockey first XI have already equalled the school’s best ever Senior Cup position, but on Wednesday they have the chance to go one better as they challenge Lurgan College for the Ulster Senior Cup at Lisnagarvey.
The Magherafelt girls have waited almost 40 years to get back into this position, but Captain Claire Mulholland is not getting carried away in the build up to the match:
“We’ve taken each match as it has come and this one will be no different,” she said. “Everyone has been so committed to training and it helps that we get on so well even outside school. I think that is really where our strength lies.”
Rainey had to come through nailbiting penalty strokes in their semi-final, but it was three well-worked short corners which saw them draw with a very good Ballymena Academy side in the semi-final.
“We’ve worked really hard all season on our short corner routine and that really paid off against Ballymena in the semi-final,” said Claire who also admitted that despite the team’s obvious strength on the pitch, they also had a secret weapon on the sideline:
“Before the game I’ll ask my team to play for each other and for Mrs Burns who is the reason that we are in this cup final.”
And Rainey will require ever advantage they can muster according to their Head Coach, Carolyn Burns.
“This is Lurgan’s fourth Senior Cup final in a row and they won the All-Ireland Competition last year, so yeah, they are a very impressive outfit in terms of players and experience,” she said.
“It’s going to be a tough game. We know from Junior Cup - where we are going into our seventh semi-final in a row - that it does create a winning mentality. They will be very much expecting to win.
“We are a small school - just 350 girls - and we were the underdogs even coming into the competition, but we will be going out very, very positive and give it our best shot.”