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The end of an era as Pegasus legend Ferris retires

 

By John Flack

Suzanne Ferris has announced her retirement from senior hockey after an illustrious career with Pegasus, Ulster and Ireland, spanning two decades.

However, the 36-year-old will continue to play for the Pegasus second string but, having been dogged by back and calf problems in recent years, she has reluctantly called it a day as far as top-flight action is concerned.

Her decision takes immediate effect, meaning she will miss Pegasus' European Club Trophy trip to Munich in June having played fewer minutes than she would have ideally liked during the season due to injuries.

Ferris can look back on her 20-year stint with club and country with immense pride, her time having been evenly split between Pegasus and Belfast Harlequins.

She won 40 caps for the Irish senior team and played in a European Championship in Barcelona in 2003, an Olympic qualifier in New Zealand the following year and a World Cup qualifier in Rome in 2006.

Still widely known by her maiden name, 'Beaney' scored around 300 goals for Pegasus, having started her career as a right-back with Harlequins before moving up front.

She had a career-best 58 goals in one season for Pegasus a few years ago and also a tally of 56, making her one of the most prolific strikers of her day.

One of her finest achievements came when she won the player of the tournament award in the old-style Irish Hockey League in 2011 when Pegasus also lifted the Irish Senior Cup.

She scored a hat-trick in the 4-1 IHL final win over Hermes, a week after hitting two of the goals in the 3-1 Cup final win over the same opposition.

She hit another treble as Pegasus came from three down to be crowned European champions when they hosted the second-tier series in Belfast back in 2012.

"If I'd been fit and able to go to Munich this year that would have been my fifth European trip having been to Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands, if you don't count the tournament we hosted," she said.

"It was always my ambition to play for Ireland, and I travelled the world doing it, but the club is where you choose to play and Pegasus have been absolutely amazing.

"They made me a better player and the likes of Arlene Boyles, Claire McMahon and Karen Humphreys to name but three were an inspiration to me.

"Wearing an Ulster shirt was also something special.

"I had the best of times under coaches like Graham Quincey and Stephen Watt and I will never forget the team talks from legends like Jackie McWilliams, Alison Vance and Arlene."

Meanwhile, Lisnagarvey and Senior One runners-up Rainey will meet in a promotion/relegation play-off at Upper Malone on Friday night, with the coveted reward for the winners a place in the Ulster Premier League for next season.

Belfast Telegraph

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