Pegasus romp is 'bad for the cup' says North Down captain after 13-0 defeat
Pegasus 13-0 North Down
North Down captain Laura Clarke says it's time to consider introducing some form of seeding into the Irish Senior Cup after her team suffered a humiliating 13-0 first round defeat by Pegasus in a Halloween horror show at Upper Malone on Saturday.
Fittingly it was someone wearing a mask who prevented a bigger rout as only the brilliance of goalkeeper Trish Neill stood between the Comber side, who were promoted as Senior One runners-up last season, and an even bigger scoreline.
Former international Suzanne Ferris hit five of the goals, Vanessa Surgeoner claimed a treble, with the others coming from Rosie Henderson, who got two, Kate McConnell, Taite Doherty and Alex Speers.
However Ferris didn't boast the day's biggest personal tally as she was upstaged by current Ireland striker Anna O'Flanagan, who chalked up a double hat-trick in Hermes' 12-0 demolition of Greenfields in Dublin.
Those were the only two double-figure first round wins, but the North Down captain believes that more mismatches will inevitably follow if the current open draw format remains in place.
"I never thought about seeding until now but I believe it would be a good idea and I'm not sure either side really got anything out of the game," said Clarke.
"Going into the competition the way it is you know you're unlikely to progress past the first round unless you get drawn against one of a small handful of teams you are evenly-matched with, which is tough.
"We got first-hand experience of why Pegasus have been the best team in the country for over a decade. We could learn a lot from them and the way they played but, in terms of the result, we won't be dwelling on it."
While the notional romance of the cup is dead for North Down, it is very much alive for their newly-promoted domestic rivals Dungannon.
Making their debut in the competition, they staged a dramatic comeback to beat Lisnagarvey 5-4 on penalties after a 2-2 stalemate at Comber Road
Their achievement was all the more notable as they arrived at Comber Road with no substitutes due to injuries and other players unavailable.
Garvey led 2-0 after scoring a goal in each half through Jasmin Kirkwood and Rachel Houston before Dungannon captain Lynda Elliott replied with a brace in the last 10 minutes, her equalizer coming with the last play of the game.
"The girls gave 100% right through to the final whistle and their team spirit and desire to win led to our victory," said Lynda.
Holders Ulster Elks eased into the second round after second half goals from Rebecca Barry, Hannah Irwin and Gemma Frazer gave them a 3-0 win over Old Alex in Dublin.
Former international Nikki Parke hit a hat-trick in Ballymoney's 7-2 home win over Cork C of I and Randastown beat Armagh 1-0 but there were defeats for Belfast Harlequins and Queen's.
The Deramore girls went down 5-3 to UCC in Cork while Queen's were beaten 5-0 by UCD in Dublin.
Queen's have a swift chance to get back on track as a win over Lisnagarvey tonight would book them the last remaining place in the semi-finals of the Ulster Shield, while Ireland play Scotland in the first of three internationals in Glasgow.
Results: Irish Senior Cup first round: Ballymoney 7 (N Parke 3, L McCurdy 2, K Gawn, S Brown) Cork C of I 2; Lisnagarvey 2 (J Kirkwood, R Houston) Dungannon 2 (L Elliott 2); (Dungannon won 5-4 on pens); Old Alex 0 Ulster Elks 3 (R Barry, H Irwin, G Frazer); Pegasus 13 (S Ferris 5, V Surgeoner 3, R Henderson 2, A Speers, T Doherty, K McConnell) North Down 0; Randalstown 1 (A Ogilby) Armagh 0; UCC 5 Belfast Harlequins 3 (C Weir, A Geddes, C Caruth); UCD 5 Queen's 0; Hermes 12 Greenfields 0; Pembroke 0 Loreto 3; Railway Union 2 Glenanne 0.
Irish Hockey Trophy first round: Ballymena 2 Catholic Institute 3; Bray 1 Rainey 2; Clontarf 2 Dromore 1; Larne 1 Bandon 6; NICS 1 Omagh 2; Three Rock 3 Portadown 1.
Today: International: Scotland v Ireland (Glasgow, noon);
Denman Ulster Shield: Queen's v Lisnagarvey (Upper Malone, 7.30pm).