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Rescheduled cup dates set to signal the start of hockey's long-awaited comeback

 

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Cup countdown: Pegasus captain Ruth Maguire

Cup countdown: Pegasus captain Ruth Maguire

�INPHO/Freddie Parkinson

Cup countdown: Pegasus captain Ruth Maguire

Plans are in place to herald the start of the new hockey season by completing the 2019/20 Irish Senior Cup in September, signalling good news for the three Ulster clubs who are still involved in the two competitions.

Much will naturally depend on the coronavirus being kept under control in the interim and the relaxation of lockdown measures continuing broadly according to plan.

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel for Lisnagarvey and Cookstown men, both of whom have reached the semi-final stage along with Pegasus, who are through to the women's showpiece.

Garvey were due to host Dublin side Glenanne and Cookstown scheduled to entertain UCD in March a couple of weeks after the season was suspended. 

Pegasus were looking forward to a rematch with UCD, having lost 4-0 to the Dublin students in their last appearance in the final.

Now though, it's looking likely that the long wait for a return to competitive hockey will soon be over with the cup games acting as a curtain raiser for the new season.

The men's semi-finals have been pencilled in for September 5 with the two finals provisionally fixed for a fortnight later - possibly as a double header.

Unsurprisingly, the Ulster clubs who are still in cup contention are delighted with the prospect, their joy compounded by what will be an ideal warm-up for the new campaign.

"We couldn't be happier to hear that the Irish Senior Cup could be getting the go-ahead in September," said Cookstown co-coach Michael Haycock.

"It's at a very early stage but I think this is testament to all the work going on to get the sport up and running and to make sure everyone involved is properly protected." 

Pegasus captain Ruth Maguire also welcomed the development as her side prepares for a European Hockey League trip to Amsterdam in October.

"We are just so excited to see the start of the new season again whatever the competition and it's been a long wait but worth it," she said. 

Belfast Telegraph