Carrick duo off to Sainsbury’s School Games

Downshire School athlete Hollie Gilliland with her sisters Kaitlin and Robyn. INCT 35-207-AM
Downshire School athlete Hollie Gilliland with her sisters Kaitlin and Robyn. INCT 35-207-AM
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Two Carrick girls are off to the Sainsbury’s 2015 School Games in England this week.

Hockey player Jessica McMaster (inset), a pupil at Belfast High School, and Downshire School athlete Hollie Gilliland will be aiming for medal success when the Games kick off in Manchester on Thursday (September 3).

Jessica McMaster

Jessica McMaster

A year after Ulster girls’ hockey team came second at the School Games, McMaster returns to the competition with the intention of helping her team win gold.

The 17-year-old will be looking to regain the top spot her team achieved in 2013 before being denied last year.

She comes into the competition off the back of a very successful season which saw her win the Irish Senior Cup with Jordanstown-based Ulster Elks. She was also selected by the Ireland Under-18 team for the European Championships in Mori, Italy which they won.

“I’m really looking forward to the School Games as I have been before and it’s a great experience being part of a multi-sport competition,” she said.

“We won silver last year so I hope that we can go one step higher and win gold this year. ns.

“We want to try our best to win the competition and do our country proud.”

Gilliand recently picked up a silver medal in the U17 girls’ Northern Ireland and Ulster Multi Events / heptahlon competition as well as gold in the 4 x 400m women’s senior relay. Now the Lagan Valley Athletics Club member is targeting success in the javelin and as part of Northern Ireland’s 300m relay team.

Gilliland said she is determined to win a medal, adding: “It’s a dream come true to represent my country at the Sainsbury’s School Games.”

The competition runs from Thursday until Sunday and will see 1,600 athletes compete in 12 current and future Olympic and Paralympic sports.