Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

UCD will be too hot for Pegs: McCool

Armagh coach Niall McCool says he expects the students of UCD to scupper Pegasus' hopes of retaining their Electric Ireland Irish Hockey League crown.

McCool is basing his controversial opinion in the aftermath of watching the Dublin side beat his side 3-0 on match day one in the competition a few weeks ago.

But Pegasus captain Arlene Boyles, in football parlance, wants her players to do their talking on the pitch when the sides meet on Saturday at the Dub.

The reigning All-Ireland champions made it two wins out of two last weekend as they defeated Old Alex 3-1 in Dublin.

In their first game in their defence of the trophy they beat Catholic Institute 2-1 in Limerick.

Armagh, on their own admission, are out of the reckoning for a slot in the last four after going down 2-1 to 'Stute on Saturday.

That left them without a point to their name while Pegasus are riding high after making it a double-success with that win over Alex. But McCool thinks the holders will meet their match on Saturday in the wake of watching the Dublin girls do the business against his charges.

“I think UCD will be the team to beat this season and they have strength in every department of the game in my opinion,” he said.

“I take them to beat Pegasus on Saturday and I fancy them to go all the way in all competitions this time around. UCD have no real weaknesses in my view, although maybe their goalkeeper is maybe an exception to that.

“If Arlene can put her under threat from her penalty corners, then Pegasus might do it but, all things considered, I fancy UCD to nick it.”

Boyles insists Pegasus are more than capable of proving the Orchard County boss wrong.

“Niall is fully entitled to his opinion but maybe he should concentrate on coaching Armagh,” the former Ireland vice-captain responded.

“Nobody gave us much credit for winning the double at All-Ireland level last season but we don't really care about that.”

Boyles does accept that Saturday's game will be tough to say the least in the light of UCD's prowess.

“They have benefited greatly from the Irish Hockey Association's Centralisation Programme and have lots of very talented players,” she added.

“But we have one or two reasonably talented players as well and we will be concentrating on a very intensive training regime this week.

“It's the second game of a very important phase for us which started with the game with Alex last weekend.

“We have Ballymoney in the Irish Senior Cup after the UCD game so we will see what happens.”

'Money, meanwhile, have made their best ever start to an IHL campaign and, on Saturday, face Railway Union.

“It has been very pleasing so far but our toughest games are yet to come,” said team captain Susie Martin.

“We did well for the first three quarters of our win against Cork Harlequins at the weekend but were under the cosh for the last part of the game.”

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