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Pegasus ace Pamela Glass takes on Sara Alexander of Ards

Pegasus ace Pamela Glass takes on Sara Alexander of Ards

Pegasus ace Pamela Glass takes on Sara Alexander of Ards

Pegasus will be Ulster's sole flag bearers in the semi-finals of the Irish Hockey League next month after a hard-fought 2-1 win over Ards at Upper Malone on Saturday which wasn't short of controversy.

The umpires were kept busy as they showed five cards – four green and one yellow – at different stages, three to Ards players and two to their opponents.

Ards needed nothing short of victory to keep alive their slender hopes of a place in the last four while a draw would have been enough for Pegasus to go through.

Pegasus vice-captain Pamela Glass believed that her team's relatively better self-discipline was instrumental in her team's win over the side they had earlier beaten to retain the Ulster title.

"The longer the game went on the more vocal they became with the umpires and that basically gave us the ammunition to become more confident and encourage each other," she suggested.

"That, to me, was the main difference between the teams and Ards are very passionate about their hockey, but as they become more successful they will learn from it.

"I think that we have now shown that we are the true Ulster champions by a long run and the cream has risen to the top.

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Ards were disappointed not to have held on to an early lead as, once again, the bridesmaids tag has come back to haunt them, certainly in outdoor hockey.

"It was the same old story I'm afraid, as we started the game very well but we didn't produce a 70 minute performance," said manager Phil Mills.

"But to have been a clear second in the Premier League and to have won gold at the European indoor tournament means it hasn't been a bad season."

Ards got off to the perfect start when, with just 41 seconds on the clock, Chloe Brown took advantage of a Pegasus error and raced into the circle to fire the ball into the corner of the net.

Pegasus went close to scoring an equaliser in the 16th minute but a defender got back to clear Vanessa Surgeoner's penalty corner shot off the line.

The third quarter saw Pegasus take the initiative and Ards keeper Naomi McKnight saved well from Suzanne Ferris and Surgeoner early on.

In the 47th minute Surgeoner thought she had scored but, after protests, the umpire disallowed the 'goal' after initially awarding it.

But with a minute remaining of the third period Ruth Maguire levelled matters when she fired home a set piece variation.

Two minutes into the final period Ferris got the winner after Surgeoner unselfishly picked her out and she swept the ball home.

At the other end, Janice Vaughan sent a penalty corner just wide and goalkeeper Sharon Moffett saved from Sara Alexander.

In the same section, Ballymoney fell to their fourth defeat in a row as goals in the first and last quarters clinched Loreto a 2-0 win at the Joey Dunlop Centre.

In Pool A, Lurgan did well to hold a strong UCD side to a 3-1 winning margin in Dublin

In the Irish Hockey Trophy semi-final, North Down enjoyed a 2-1 win over Cookstown and secured a place in the decider against Cork C of I.


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