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Pegasus will savour their European adventure

By John Flack

Pegasus are hoping to sign off their EY Irish Hockey League campaign on a high note as they prepare to face Hermes-Monkstown on Saturday at Jordanstown. Last weekend, Pegasus came from behind to beat Railway Union 2-1 at the same venue but, despite their victory, they missed out on a place in the play-offs.

That means they won't be competing in Europe next season, but at least they are preparing for this year's European adventure, on the back of last year's successful play-off campaign.

Captain Alex Speers and her team are in confident mood as they approach Saturday's game against the IHL champions after an improved display against Railway last week.

Penalty corners have been a problem in the previous 17 games in the IHL but both Pegasus goals last Saturday came from set-pieces.

Speers said: "We were delighted with the win after an improved second-half performance and it was great to convert the corners after we had problems earlier in the season."

However, the former Ireland captain admits that her team's failure to reach the play-offs is a blow, with UCD, Monkstown, Cork Harlequins and Loreto fighting it out instead.

Speers added: "After winning the IHL and then being beaten in the final over the last two years, we are obviously disappointed not to make the play-offs this time.

"But we have Europe to prepare for and look forward to at the start of June and Saturday's game with Hermes will be part of the preparation for that."

Meanwhile, at domestic level, the top three places have been decided in the Ulster Premier League - champions Lurgan will be joined by runners-up Ballymoney and Queen's in the play-offs which will determine who plays in the IHL next season.

Lurgan are exempt from the first weekend of qualifying as a reward for winning the title while the other two will join four others from Leinster and Munster in Dublin, with only the overall winners progressing to the final stage.

Raphoe, Banbridge and Lisnagarvey are involved in a three-way battle that will determine the relegation shake-up, with the bottom team dropping down and the side that finishes in penultimate place facing a play-off with the runners-up in Senior One.

Bann travel to Raphoe tonight and then host the Donegal side on Saturday and two victories would guarantee their survival and at the same time relegate their opponents.

WOMEN’S SENIOR FIXTURES

TONIGHT: Ulster Premier League: Raphoe v Banbridge (Royal & Prior, 8pm)

Senior One: Mossley v Rainey (Mossley, 8.15pm)

SATURDAY: EY Irish Hockey League: Pegasus v Monkstown (UUJ, 1pm)

Ulster Premier League: Banbridge v Raphoe (Havelock Park, 2.30pm)

Ulster President’s Cup quarter-finals: Queen’s v Rainey (Upper Malone, 1pm); Lisnagarvey v Lurgan (Comber Road, 2.30pm); Randalstown v Ballymoney (Antrim Forum, 2.30pm).

Belfast Telegraph

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