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Pegasus have a Euro vision to bring trophy home

Pegasus still don't know where they will be heading as they prepare for their return to European competition next year.

After their double All-Ireland triumph last season, the Belfast side earned the right to represent their country on the continent again.

They will be taking part in the European Trophy, formerly known as the 'B' Division after Railway Union kept Ireland in the second tier last time around.

The Dublin side hosted last season's tournament and that's not totally out of the question this time around for Pegasus as none of the other participating countries has yet put in a bid to stage the competition.

It's a dilemma for Pegasus because they could end up with an expensive trip to the likes of Russia, Belarus, Lithuania or Slovenia.

Alternatively the tournament could be held in Italy, Scotland or Belgium, which wouldn't involve such a major financial drain.

The European Hockey Federation do charge countries for the right to host such events and visiting teams are subsidised as are umpires and tournament officials.

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So it's a case of 'watch this space' as far as Pegasus are concerned as they prepare their bid to get back into Europe next season.

The first step in that process begins this weekend with the start of the ONE1918 Premier League campaign in which a top four finish guarantees a place in the Irish Hockey League.

Pegasus, who are at home to Lurgan on Saturday, won't be content with that as they are still smarting from losing their stranglehold on the domestic trophy.

They relinquished that last season when Ballymoney lifted the title for the first time in the club's history. A nailbiting race went right down to the wire with 'Money beating Armagh 2-1 in the last game of the season.

As fate would have it, the repeat fixture at Ardmore is where the Co. Antrim side begin their defence on Saturday.

"It's the sort of league where if you lose even one match then it's a struggle if you want to win the title," said Ballymoney captain Susie Martin.

"So we can't afford to lose at Armagh on day one and we want to hit the ground running."

Armagh will be without Emma Stewart, who was magnificent in last season's game with 'Money, despite finishing on the losing side.

She is currently based in England and the Orchard County side will also be without the injured Rachel Mulligan on Saturday.

"We're looking forward to the game and we have a big squad so we are quietly confident," said Armagh coach Niall McCool.

Saturday's fixtures: Premier League: Ards v Harlequins (2.30pm), Armagh v Ballymoney (2.30pm), Lisnagarvey v Queen's (2.30pm), Pegasus v Lurgan (1pm), Randalstown v Ulster Elks (2.30pm).

Senior One: Ballymena v Cookstown (2.30pm), Knock v Greenisland (1.15pm), Civil Service v North Down (1pm), Omagh v Priorians (2.30pm), Victorians v Portadown (4pm).

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