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Pegs keen to put rivals on back foot this time around: Harvey

 

Fierce desire: Michelle Harvey wants to extend Pegasus’ winning run
Fierce desire: Michelle Harvey wants to extend Pegasus’ winning run

By John Flack

Pegasus face their biggest test of the EY Irish Hockey League season today when they take on top side Loreto in Dublin, aiming to make it four wins on the bounce.

The last time the sides met, it took a late goal from Alex Speers to give the Belfast team a 2-1 win in the final of the play-offs at Havelock Park in May.

On Pegasus' own admission, they were a tad fortunate to steal victory on that occasion having been under the cosh for most of the game.

Despite a solid start to the current season, the All-Ireland champions haven't been in particularly convincing form.

They opened with a 1-0 win over Railway Union in Dublin and then recorded 4-2 and 1-0 victories over newly-promoted Catholic Institute and Cork Harlequins respectively in last weekend's home double-header.

In mitigation, however, they have lost several experienced players to retirement and maternity leave, including Stephanie Quinn, Kate Millar and Grace Irwin.

They have gained a few talented youngsters who have represented Ireland at under-age level, including BRA student Niamh McIvor, who hit the winning goal against Cork last Sunday.

Team captain Michelle Harvey said: "It's going to take time for the newcomers to blend into the squad but so far, so good.

"Loreto will certainly be a tough proposition and this time we want to take the game to them, rather than have to sit back which is what they forced us to do in the play-off final.

"We want to force the pace and not rely on mistakes but I've been delighted with the start even though Loreto will almost certainly be the strongest side we've played so far."

Shirley McCay, Ireland's most-capped player, returns after being unavailable for Sunday's win.

Meanwhile, Belfast Harlequins will be aiming for their first IHL win in four starts today when they host UCD at Deramore.

Quins did, however, secure a confidence-boosting victory midweek when they defeated Randalstown 2-0 in the Denman Ulster Shield at Antrim Forum.

On the men's front, IHL leaders Lisnagarvey will be expected to warm up for tomorrow's Kirk Cup semi with South Antrim with a sixth consecutive win when they tackle newly-promoted Corinthian at Comber Road.

Annadale's trip to UCD has been postponed due to a bout of mumps in the students' camp.

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