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Pegasus have revenge and Europe in sight

 

By John Flack

Pegasus are eyeing up a revenge meeting with UCD after losing 4-0 to the students in the Irish Senior Cup final earlier this month at Belfield.

But Ali McNeill's side are keeping their fingers crossed that the rematch will be in the final of the Champions Trophy, and not before.

There's a very important reason for that because, even by reaching the final, Pegasus could qualify for Europe next season.

The end-of-season play-offs, scheduled for Banbridge over the May Bank Holiday weekend, will be contested by the top four finishers from the league campaign.

UCD are just a point away from clinching the league title, with two games still to play, and if they do so then they would qualify for Europe automatically.

If UCD were to retain the title and go on to win the Champions Trophy, then the runners-up would hold down the second European spot on offer.

As things stand, the Dublin side would face the team that finishes fourth - most likely Railway Union - and Pegasus would play Cork Harlequins in the other semi-final.

Pegasus coach McNeill said: "We will be doing everything we can to finish third and avoid UCD in the semi-finals.

"We felt we didn't do ourselves justice against them in the cup final and we'd love the opportunity to play them again with the chance of making it to Europe.

"However, we can't look that far ahead - first we have to get the point we need and, if we can do that, then we would still have to get through the semi-final.

"Cork beat us earlier in the season after we drew with them down there and they are obviously a really tough side with a lot of current internationals."

Pegasus have three chances to get the point they require to make sure of third place, starting with Saturday's game with Belfast Harlequins at Deramore.

Harlequins lost the corresponding Irish Senior Cup semi-final game 1-0 a couple of weeks ago and obviously will be out for revenge.

On that occasion, Pegasus won more comfortably than the scoreline suggested, but Quins have been buoyed by Sunday's 2-1 win over Pembroke in Dublin.

Ards have a tough task, even with home advantage, against UCD as they bid to bounce back from the 3-0 loss to Pegasus.

The odds are that Pegasus and UCD will get the point each need to set up that possible showdown in Banbridge next month.

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