After weeks of hard work and preparation the Ulster Men and Women were named victors of the Junior Interprovincial Tournament 2013 which was hosted by Three Rock Rovers Hockey Club.
Quietly confident in their ability and pre-tournament friendly performances the Ulster Women entered the tournament as favourites and did not disappoint. They won the tournament in style – winning all four games, scoring fifteen goals and conceding none. This win ensured a clean-sweep of women’s Interprovincial titles (U16, U18, U21 and Junior) went North of the border this season.
Cookstown’s Claire Brown scrambled home a penalty corner to beat South-East in their opener before a 4-0 win over Connacht when Claire again got on the score sheet.
Day two began with the traditional Ulster-Leinster ‘grudge’ match. Cookstown’s Brown again opened the scoring from a pre-rehearsed penalty corner before three further goals added to the rout with Gail Todd a rock at the back.
Going into their final game Ulster had already won the tournament and used the game as an opportunity to show the supporters and hockey fans exactly why they were 2013 Champions with a 6-0 demolition of Munster. Cookstown’s Ruth Brown was to the fore in this game bagging a brace.
A brilliant squad performance from all eighteen players with ever-dependable Gail Brown, Rose Montgomery, goalkeepers Rebecca Davidson and Caroline Reid and Captain Louise Creighton rock-solid in defence whilst Cookstown duo Gemma Todd and Ruth Brown’s endless running in midfield was instrumental. New cap Ruth Dalton had superb tournament and Catherine McGrillen’s versatility proved vital to the success. Rainey coach Ricky McGaw and Manager Fiona Lee were delighted with the performances and the girls’ attitude.
The Ulster men also took the title, starting with a 3-0 win against Munster. The first goal coming from a great break away from Cookstown’s Richard Nelson with his teammate David Atkinson sealing the game with a penalty corner flick.
A huge 6-4 win over Connacht sealed the tournament for Ulster with Atkinson and NICS’s Aaron Gill each grabbing hat tricks after going 3-0 down in the first half.
With the tournament now in the bag, the Ulster boys went out to win their third and final game of the tournament. However, they came across a well drilled Leinster side who were out to play for pride. Some poor umpiring saw tempers raise and Ulster ended up losing the game 4-1.
This however did not affect the tournament results which Ulster won, bringing the Interprovincial trophy up North for the first time in 10 years!