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Mixed fortunes for local sides as play-offs loom

By John Flack

Published 14/03/2016

Clash: Eimear Horan of Hermes and Gemma Frazer of Elks
Clash: Eimear Horan of Hermes and Gemma Frazer of Elks

Pegasus and either Ards or the Ulster Elks will, almost certainly, provide the local interest in the end-of-season EY Irish Hockey League play-offs after a weekend of contrasting fortunes for the three teams.

Defending champions Pegasus ran out comfortable 5-1 winners over UCC, meaning Ards still hold a two-point advantage over the Cork students at the bottom end of the table.

That's despite a 3-1 home defeat for the reigning Ulster champions against Pembroke Wanderers.

With yesterday's scheduled game with Railway Union postponed due to Irish training, one win from their two remaining games will now guarantee Ards safety from the threat of a relegation decider.

But they can still become one of the four teams that reach the play-offs if they can lift the Irish Senior Cup with a win over the Elks, who were hammered 7-0 by Hermes on Saturday.

Sunday's final is also likely to be a last chance saloon for the Elks.

They would need a win by two goals or more against Pegasus in their final match of the regulation IHL season to have any slim chance of reaching next month's series.

Their defeat by Hermes, coupled with the result in Cork, has produced a massive swing in goal difference, so a draw for Pegasus, or even a narrow loss, against the Elks would see the Belfast side cement a place in the top three in the table.

Elks defender Shirley McCay said: "We were very disappointed but we still have everything to play for in the cup final and we will just have to forget about Saturday and move on."

Results: EY Irish Hockey League: UCC 1 Pegasus 5 (S Ferris 2, H McMillan, A Speers, P Glass); Ards 1 (C Brown) Pembroke 3; Cork Harlequins 3 UCD 4; Railway Union 6 Greenfields 0; Ulster Elks 0 Hermes 7

President's Cup: First round: Lurgan 11 (C McCann 2, J Morrow 2, P Preston, E Quinn, E McStea, E Lindsay, N Quinn 2, S McClure) Cookstown 0; Raphoe 0 Dungannon 3 (A McKay, A Edwards, A Elliott); Ballymena 1 (E Gillespie) Belfast Harlequins 4 (C Brown 2, J Watt, K Larmour); Ballymoney 6 (K Gawn 3, N Parke 2, C Kane) Grosvenor 1 (J Maghie); Banbridge 2 (A Atkinson, A Jenkinson) Queen's 7 (R McMillan 2, J Kee 2, T Hastings, P Brown, R Henderson);Rainey 5 (E Anderson, K Ferguson 2, N Clarke, B Scott) Portadown 0; Lisnagarvey 5 (S McCullough 2, S Brown, S Colgan, L Johnston) North Down 2 (R Lucas, K Hill)

FIXTURES: Today: International: Great Britain v Ireland (Bisham Abbey, 3.30pm)

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