Hermes hopes are high


Women's Hockey All-Ireland Club ChampionshipFor the fifth time in six years Pegasus and Hermes will meet in the decider of the all-Ireland Club Championships (Belfield, 4.0), but for the first time in the same period a third team has entered the title equation.

Before the weekend the consensus appeared to be we would be treated to the most competitive tournament in recent years - and that, thanks largely to the efforts of Old Alexandra, is what we've got.

True, Pegasus top the table going into the final day and need just a draw today against Hermes to win their sixth successive title, but they, like the Leinster champions, were held to a draw by Alexandra who, consequently, can still nick the title if they beat Cork Harlequins by four goals today and Pegasus and Hermes draw.

Hermes, though, will have high hopes of becoming the first Leinster side since 1998 to win the Championship and end a frustrating run of four runners-up spots in their previous appearances in the finals. For that to happen they must beat Pegasus today.

On Saturday the "woodwork" twice denied Alexandra a winning goal against Pegasus after Trish Conway had cancelled out Arlene Boyles's 27th-minute goal. Boyles fired home her team's fourth short corner before Conway converted an Alexandra corner on the stroke of half-time. Another Conway corner effort hit the crossbar soon after the break and late on Jan Perrin was denied by a post.

Later in the day, goals from Jenny Burke and Shirine Young helped Hermes to a 2-1 win over Harlequins, Burke converting a long ball from Jill Hodgins (22nd minute) and Young putting away the rebound from a Daphne Sixsmith corner strike early in the second half. Karen Bateman scored a late goal for the Munster champions.

Pegasus had a comfortable 4-1 win over Harlequins yesterday, with Claire McMahon scoring twice to add to goals from Heather Mullan and Suzie Martin. Next up were Hermes and Alexandra, the Leinster League runners-up taking the lead late in the half through Conway.

Hermes equalised through Aisling Keane in the 40th minute. Christine Quinlan almost gave Hermes the lead, before a Jenny Osborne shot hit the Alexandra post. Tara Browne denied Conway from a late corner before Nikki King saved from Osborne.