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No excuses from O'Neill as Pegasus' Cup wait goes on

 

By John Flack

It's seven years and counting for Pegasus after they were comprehensively beaten 4-0 by UCD in the Irish Senior Cup final in Dublin yesterday.

Pegasus last won the trophy in 2011 when they defeated Hermes 3-1 but they were no match for the holders yesterday.

The Belfast side made a bright start but after trailing 1-0 at the break there was no way back when UCD added a second goal.

The students scored twice in the final 10 minutes to add some gloss to the scoreline but Pegasus coach Ali McNeill was in no mood for excuses.

She said: "We were beaten by the better team on the day and they are a class act, so well done.

"I thought we started okay and their first goal maybe came against the run of play.

"But when the second went in, we had to really chase the game and I think we showed signs of tiredness near the end.

"It was a tight turnaround after a tough game on Saturday but it was the same for them, so no excuses."

UCD included a trio of Ulster players in Ireland captain Katie Mullan, fellow international Leah Maguire and Bethany Barr.

Maguire said: "We're delighted to have won the final against a Pegasus team we knew would be tough.

"We weren't happy with our performance against Loreto, who took us to penalties in the semi-final, and were determined to make amends."

Mullan was a major influence throughout with her probing runs and she capped a fine display with the third goal.

The Coleraine woman added: "It certainly didn't feel as comfortable as the score suggests and we had to work hard for it.

"Pegasus started well and had an early penalty corner gone in it might have been different but we wanted to get our passing game right and I think we did that."

After an early chance for Pegasus captain Alex Speers had been saved, UCD broke the deadlock in the 13th minute when Lena Tice's quick free was converted by Emma Russell.

Abbie Russell made it 2-0 on 42 minutes when she volleyed home a cross from Orla Patton after great work by Mullan.

Mullan added a third when she sent a penalty corner low into the net past Pegasus goalkeeper Sammy-Jo Greer and Sorcha Clarke wrapped up the win when she tapped in Deirdre Duke's cross.

Meanwhile, Mossley also lost in a final, going down in a shoot-out against Catholic Institute in the Irish Hockey Trophy, while Queen's kept up their Ulster Premier League title quest with a 5-0 win over Ballymoney.

Irish Senior Cup final: UCD 4 (E Russell, A Russell, K Mullan, S Clarke) Pegasus 0.

Semi-finals: UCD 0 Loreto 0 (UCD won 3-2 on pens); Belfast Harlequins 0 Pegasus 1 (K Gourley).

Irish Trophy final: Mossley 3 Catholic Institute 3 (CI won 3-1 on pens).

Ulster Premier League: Queen's 5 (C Whiteside, E McStea 2, A Hutchinson 2) Ballymoney 0.

Tonight: Ulster Premier: Lurgan v Queen's (7.45pm); Portadown v Ulster Elks (8pm).

Belfast Telegraph

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