Frazer joy as Ulster Elks charge ahead in cup defence
Shirley McCay turned from potential villain to heroine as the Ulster Elks continued their defence of the Irish Senior Cup with a dramatic 4-2 penalty shoot-out win over Pegasus at Upper Malone.
The two teams had been locked together at 1-1 and McCay was harshly shown a yellow card two minutes from the end but then stepped up to convert the decisive stroke and send her jubilant side into the semi-finals of the competition.
There is no extra-time in the Cup so the Irish international was allowed to take part in the shoot-out despite not having served the full five minutes in the sin-bin as the penalty decider is treated as a new phase of the game.
Elks goalkeeper Rebecca Davidson played a pivotal role as she pulled off two saves in the shoot-out - after producing a number of important blocks during the 70 minutes in which Pegasus created more clear-cut chances.
Jordan Page scored the opening goal for the Elks from a 30th minute penalty corner and, after Stephanie Thompson had been denied by the woodwork, Alex Speers equalised six minutes from the end to force the shoot-out.
After seeing her side progress to the last-four, thrilled Elks captain Gemma Frazer commented: "It's definitely not a nice way to win any game but we are just delighted to be in the semi-finals of the competition."
Pegasus were left regretting those missed opportunities as they are now left to concentrate on their bid to retain their Irish Hockey League title.
Disappointed Pegasus coach Arlene Boyles said afterwards: "We did more than enough to win the game in the 70 minutes but we just weren't clinical enough in the circle and that cost us."
On a day when goalkeepers hogged the limelight, Naomi McKnight produced two crucial penalty saves as Ards also progressed to the last-four of the tournament with a dramatic 6-5 penalty shoot-out win over Railway Union down in Dublin after Chloe Brown had equalised for the Ulster champions in a 1-1 draw.
A relieved and delighted Caroline Adams, the Ards skipper, said: "We were without Ashley Orr, Emma Reid and Kerri McDonald for various reasons and so we're delighted to be in the semi-finals given the circumstances."
RESULTS: Irish Senior Cup quarter-finals: Hermes 4 Ballymoney 0; Railway Union 1 Ards 1 (C. Brown) (Ards won 6-5 on pens); Pegasus 1 (A. Speers) Ulster Elks 1 (J. Page) (Elks won 4-2 on pens.); UCD 1 Loreto 0.
EY Irish Hockey League: Pembroke 2 Greenfields 0; UCC 0 Hermes 3..
Ulster Premier League: Belfast Harlequins 7 (J. Watt 2, C. Caruth, K. Larmour 2, O. Goldsworthy, C. Weir).Dungannon 0; Queen's 5 (J. Orr, R. McMillan, K. McIlwaine 2, J. Allison) Portadown 0; Senior One: Grosvenor 1 Larne 1; Knock 4 Rainey 1.