Holders Banbridge Academy are safely through to the Ulster Senior Schoolgirls’ Cup final after Katie McKee proved to be captain fantastic in a 2-0 semi-final win over Sullivan Upper at Stormont.
Bann will meet Rainey Endowed in the decider at the same venue on Wednesday, March 7 after the Magherafelt side defeated Friends by the same scoreline in the second semi.
It was a tighter affair than the first and it was only late in the game that Rainey scored the insurance goal to make the final for the third time.
They will be hoping to make it third time lucky as they have lost the showpiece on two previous occasions in 1977 and 2014.
However, with McKee, who scored the opener yesterday, in such tremendous form, Banbridge may well have to accept the unwanted favourites tag going into next month’s final. Nadia Benallal bagged the second goal.
Academy coach Neil Madeley, who was in charge of the side that lost to Sullivan in the final three years ago when McKee was player-of-the-match was delighted with the win.
The winners of the final will go on to represent Ulster in the all-Ireland series and it was Bann who did the double last year when they added the Kate Russell Cup to the local trophy they had won for the first time.
However, Madeley is looking no further ahead than the Rainey game after steering McKee and her team to yesterday’s win.
“It was a tight game as semi-finals normally are and we expected Sullivan to defend and then try and hit us on the counter,” he said.
“They also have a good corner and we were keen to keep them to a minimum.
“Thankfully we scored at key stages in the game and then we had the experience to see it out.
“Regarding the final Rainey will be a really tough game. They put out Ballyclare in the previous round,” he added.
“It should be an entertaining game with two sides who like to play hockey.”
In the second semi-final, Lauren Mulholland gave Rainey the lead in the 13th minute before Andrea Hegarty made the game safe with 10 minutes left.