Lauren impresses as Ulster claims inter-pro crown

THE captain of Omagh Academy’s 1stXI hockey team has rounded off an unforgettable summer by inspiring Ulster to claim inter-priovincial glory in Cork at the weekend.
Lauren Armstrong, was instrumental throughout the tournament as Ulster secured memorable victories over Leinster, Connacht, Munster and South Eastern.
Lauren, a former player at Omagh Ladies who now plays her hockey with Premier League neighbours Dungannon, played in both midfield and defence and her impressive performances as a key member of the squad has again marked her out as a player with a bright future at all levels of the game.
Earlier in the summer Lauren captained Ireland under-17s in games against leading hockey nations Australia, Germany and Holland in Mannheim and Ulster’s success at the weekend is the icing on the cake to what has been a thrilling and hectic few months for the rising Academy star.
Ulster’s triumph was some time in the making and Lauren said the extra dedication and preparation had paid dividends. 
“It`s been several years since Ulster last won the U18 series and this current squad has been together and building as a core now for almost three years,” said Lauren.
“We knew this was our last chance for a shot at it. We`re definitely at our fittest and strongest for many seasons and felt confident if we all brought our A games that we could maybe push over the line.”
They certainly did that. Ulster opened with a 2-1 victory over South Eastern before edging out champions Leinster, who boasted a team comprising of international players in most positions, by a single goal.
This was seen as the key game and Lauren and her team-mates went on to claim the prestigious title with a 5-0 win over Connacht and an equally impressive 5-1  victory against Munster.
For Lauren the Academy player had realised her dream of winning an Irish inter-provincial champions medal which was just reward for her selfless dedication and committment to the sport.
Over the summer Lauren had attended twice weekly training sessions at UUJ in preparation as well as playing in multiple build up tournaments against England, Scotland and Wales.



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