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Pegasus targeting fifth place in Europe

 

By John Flack

Pegasus narrowly missed out on a chance to claim a set of medals at the EuroHockey Club Trophy tournament after being held to a 4-4 draw by Belarus side Ritm Grodno in their final pool game in Munich yesterday.

However, their 3-2 win over Scottish side Grove Menzieshill on Saturday, coupled with yesterday's result, means that next season's Irish representatives, Hermes-Monkstown, will be playing in the second tier of the continental competition.

Pegasus face old rivals Sumchanka today with fifth place overall at stake after staging a memorable comeback from 3-0 down to beat the Ukranian side 4-3 in the final of the same event in Belfast four years ago.

The Ulster girls travelled to Germany with a depleted squad, as they were without goalkeeper, Sammy-Jo Greer, who has a broken foot while Irish under-18 international Rosie Henderson, is out due to exam commitments.

Thirty-seven-year-old Jessica Perry stepped into the vacancy left by Greer while 41-year-old ex-Ireland winger, Claire McMahon was also promoted from the reserves.

In the circumstances, keeping Ireland at the same level next year should be regarded as a decent achievement but Pegasus captain Alex Speers was disappointed at yesterday's outcome.

She said: "We were very disappointed with the result after what was a very good performance and probably our best of the entire season."

"We had a couple of late chances from penalty corners to win the game and that would have left us playing for the bronze medals.

"However, we are happy to have kept Hermes up."

Yesterday, Pegasus fell behind in the seventh minute but Speers equalised three minutes later and then Rachael McMillan made it 2-1 in eight minutes before half-time.

But the Belarussians scored twice in the space of a minute to go into the break 3-2 ahead.

Hannah Craig levelled matters in the 38th minute only for Grodno to regain the lead before Speers equalised from a penalty-corner with six minutes left.

On Saturday against the Scots, Pegasus also trailed early on but two goals in the space of 45 seconds by Speers and one from Hannah Grieve near the break saw them move 3-1 ahead at the interval.

Grove pulled another goal back with 12 minutes left to set up a nervy finish but Pegasus held on for the win.

EuroHockey Club Trophy (Munich): Saturday: Pegasus 3 (A Speers 2, H Grieve) Grove-Menzieshill 2; Sunday: Pegasus 4 (A Speers 2, R McMillan, H Craig) Ritm Grodno (Belarus) 4; Today: fifth/sixth place play-off: Pegasus v Sumchanka (UKR) (9.45am UK time).

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