It was a case of Manchester magic for five students from the area at the recent Sainsbury’s School Games.
Hockey players connected to the Portadown, Lurgan and Armagh clubs returned home with medals.
Zach McClelland helped the boys claim bronze - with Zoe Jackson, Alana Doyle, Kathryn Edgar and Alex Hurst guiding the girls to runners-up position overall.
Doyle - a player with Armagh - found the net in the final fixture to close the gap on Scotland at half-time to 2-1 then net an equaliser. However, Scotland moved back in front on the way to a 4-3 success towards gold.
Lurgan’s Edgar - from the area - and her club-mate, Hurst, also played key roles in the impressive progress by Ulster alongside Portadown’s Jackson.
Ulster opened with a 5-1 defeat of England then recorded success over Wales by 5-0.
Lurgan ladies’ derby date at Portadown on Saturday will signal the start of a frantic run of club fixtures.
Lurgan face Pegasus at home next Wednesday in the second Ulster Shield test and also meet Ulster Elks across the group stages.
Other commitments on the calendar include league dates on the domestic front and national programme.
Phoebe Preston has arrived from Queen’s, with Jo-Anne Wilson back at the club after spending time studying in England.
Zoe Hawthorne, Jayne Clarke and Emma Lindsay have all left the game.
A number of players are expected to join the senior squad from the underage set-up.
“We have a lot coming up, with the Irish Hockey League from October,” said honorary secretary Adele McClure. “It is going to be a packed run but exciting, starting away to Portadown.”
McClelland, a member of Portadown’s senior panel at club level, featured across the School Games. Ulster finished 2-1 down to England in the opening test before a first win arrived against Wales as McClelland grabbed a brace of goals in the 4-1 triumph.
Bronze arrived following a 4-2 victory over England Blue - with McClelland adding to his tournament tally.
Other competitors called up for the trip to England were Craigavon Aztecs Volleyball Club’s Jack Clark, David Pendleton and Mathieu Outhwaite.
Michaela McNally from Lurgan featured in the athletics field.
For more information log on to www.2014schoolgames.com.