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Hannah relishing the rewards of a 'hectic' schedule

 

By John Flack

Hannah Grieve excels in three different sports at this time of year but hockey will be the name of the game at the weekend as Pegasus bid for all-Ireland glory at the Champions Trophy tournament in Dublin.

The 22-year-old defender's schedule has been hectic to say the least in recent weeks, with football and hockey as well as the cricket season about to kick in.

Pegasus are up against Cork Harlequins in the semi-finals of the play-offs, with the winners taking on either UCD or Loreto in the decider on Sunday with two places in Europe at stake.

It's a busy weekend, with two games in as many days for the finalists, but that's nothing new for Grieve when you look at her recent sporting timetable.

Pegasus have just finished a rigorous regulation Irish Hockey League campaign by cramming in four matches in the space of eight days but that was just part of the story for the multi-talented former Irish Under 21 player.

She has also represented Ireland at underage level in cricket and is a member of the Portadown football team that competes in the Danske Bank Women's Premiership.

"At this time of the year my sporting schedule becomes hectic with the hockey season at a crucial stage, with the play-off weekend to come," she explained.

"As well as this, the Premier League football season has just started and the NCU women's cricket season is only a couple of weeks away from starting, so there is a lot of overlap going on.

"On top of that, I am trying to complete the final year of my degree, so it has been and will continue to be hectic.

"Last week, for example, I had three hockey matches, three football training sessions and two gym sessions, although I had to miss a football match in order to play the IHL game against Belfast Harlequins on Wednesday.

"It's been tough going but, with the hockey schedule, it's been good to get some game time and that has allowed us to build good momentum going into this weekend."

The winners of this weekend's Champions Trophy will qualify for Europe next season and the runners-up will also book a trip to the continent if UCD were to come out on top, having already clinched the first place on offer.

While excited at the prospect of playing in Europe, Grieve is looking no further than the Cork Harlequins game, after Pegasus had earlier drawn with the Munster side before losing 2-1 at home.

She added: "Every time we play Cork it's a close game, so I doubt this time will be any different.

"Having had the opportunity to play in two European competitions, it was an amazing opportunity to play against some of the best in the world and it is the aim of coach Ali McNeill to get us back there. It is a target we set at the start of this season as we knew we had a strong enough group to reach it.

"Making finals weekend, we know we aren't far away from returning but our focus will not be on Europe, it will be on Saturday's game first."

Meanwhile, there are two promotion/relegation issues to be sorted out this weekend.

First up is the game to decide the final place in next season's Ulster Premier League - second bottom team North Down take on Senior One runners-up Ballymena at Mossley on Friday evening.

Sunday sees the battle for the final place in next season's Irish Hockey League, with second bottom Trinity squaring up to Provincial Play-off runners-up Old Alex.

Belfast Telegraph

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