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Pegasus stumble but play-offs remain priority


By John Flack

Pegasus coach Ali McNeill is convinced her team can still hold down a play-off place in the EY Irish Hockey League despite a 2-1 loss to Cork Harlequins at Upper Malone on Saturday.

McNeill's girls stayed in third place in the table but Railway closed the gap to three points following a 2-0 win over Ards.

However, Pegasus have the benefit of a game in hand and an easier run-in with just one out-of-province game to come.

Ironically, it was two players who previously lined out in Ulster that were instrumental in Cork's win as Emily O'Leary equalised Taite Doherty's opener and Rebecca Barry set up the winner for Naomi Carroll.

O'Leary scored the winner for Ulster Elks in the 2015 Irish Senior Cup final and Barry played in the Jordanstown team that retained the trophy a year later.

McNeill said: "It doesn't really matter where you finish as long as it's in the top three, although obviously, a win would have given us a bit of breathing space.

"But there's still a lot to play for and we've UCD next at home, so we haven't completely given up. Belfast Harlequins' 5-0 home defeat to UCD and Ards' loss to Railway mean that Pegasus are likely to be Ulster's sole representatives in the play-offs, if McNeill's confidence is borne out.

In the Ulster Premier Queen's have moved into second spot after a 3-0 win over Mossley.

The students are now just four points behind Ballymoney but have three games in hand after two Tori Hastings penalty strokes following Emily McStea's opener sealed a comfortable win.

Money were denied by a spectacular last-minute Betty Scott equaliser at Rainey but champions Lurgan remain in the frame after a 2-1 win at Dungannon.

EY Irish Hockey League: Belfast Harlequins 0 UCD 5 (D Duke 2, K Mullan, L Tice, K Egan); Loreto 2 (A Meeke, J McGirr) Monkstown 0; Pegasus 1 (T Doherty) Cork Harlequins 2 (E O'Leary, N Carroll); Pembroke 2 (J Ringwood, A Naughton) Trinity 2 (S Campbell, E Noone); Railway Union 2 (E Smyth, C Joyce) Ards 0.

Ulster Premier: Banbridge 2 (O Berry, R Kerr) Randalstown 2 (K McDowell, CJ McDonald); Dungannon 1 (S Kelly) Lurgan 2 (J Wilson, S McClure); Queen's 3 (E McStea, T Hastings 2) Mossley 0; Rainey 2 (K Ferguson, B Scott) Ballymoney 2 (J Hamilton, N Parke)

Senior One: Ballyclare 2 (Z King, K Dixon) Knock 1 (A Trimble); Omagh 2 (A Buchanan, E Shortt) CI 0; Priorians 0 Lisnagarvey 3 (J McQueen 2, R Houston); Raphoe 4 (S Barnett 2, S Patterson, E Harpur) Victorians 4 (E Conlin, E Cutrona 2, J Orr).

Irish Hockey Trophy quarter-finals: Bandon 5 Ballymena 2 (E Anderson,R Reynolds); Bray 1 Three Rock 0; Catholic Institute 4 Belvedere 1

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