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Harvey eyes return as Pegs get difficult Euro draw

 

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Comeback trail: Michelle Harvey is on the mend after surgery

Comeback trail: Michelle Harvey is on the mend after surgery

�INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Comeback trail: Michelle Harvey is on the mend after surgery

Pegasus have been handed a tough draw for the EuroHockey Club Championship top tier in Amsterdam over the Easter weekend.

The all-Ireland champions will face familiar foes in the shape of crack Spanish outfit Clubcampo Madrid.

Pegasus lost 3-0 to the same opponents in Munich three years ago so will be up against it, although the draw could have been worse.

The Belfast side have avoided the four Dutch and German teams in what is a new-look competition which will bring the cream of European club hockey to the one venue.

For the first time, the men's and women's events are being run in parallel and there is equal prize money at stake for both genders.

However, Pegasus would have to finish in the top three to be in the money and that might be a step too far.

If they were to defy the odds and beat the star-studded Spanish side, they would face the winners of the game between German champions Club an der Alster and Surbiton for a place in the final.

If they were to go down to Clubcampo, Pegasus would play the losers of the same game for the minor placings.

While Michelle Harvey's team were invincible at national level last season, winning both the regulation Irish Hockey League title and the play-offs, the trip to the Netherlands will represent a big step up in class.

In addition, Pegasus have lost several front line players this season although that didn't stop them from soaring to the top of the IHL rankings in the first half of the current campaign.

No fewer than nine new signings - all of them teenagers -have arrived at the club this season and the youngsters have already got their hands on some silverware.

Pegasus defeated IHL rivals Belfast Harlequins 3-1 to lift the Denman Ulster Shield on Boxing Day at Stormont.

Harvey missed the showpiece as she had to undergo surgery on an ankle injury but she is targeting a return before her team head to Amsterdam in April.

The former Ireland international said: "I am making good progress, so I am pretty confident that I will be fit for the Euros which are going to be tough and there is no point in beating about the bush.

"I know most of the Clubcampo internationals from either lining out against them at international level or when I was playing club hockey in Belgium.

"A number of the girls who were in Munich also have experience of playing against them but I guess there's even more of a buzz being the underdogs.

"As we will do with the remainder of the season at home, we will focus on the task at hand and try to play to our strengths, exploit their weaknesses and empty the tank, giving it everything we have got."

Belfast Telegraph