Hockey: Pegasus take sole lead into winter break

Belfast side beat Muckross to make it seven wins out of eight

Pegasus’ Alex Speers scored in their win over Muckross. Photo: Rowland White/Inpho

Pegasus’ Alex Speers scored in their win over Muckross. Photo: Rowland White/Inpho

 

After the final Hockey League games before the winter break Pegasus have sole ownership of top spot in the table having been tied on points with Loreto for the previous three weeks. The Belfast side beat Muckross to make it seven wins out of eight in the first phase of the campaign, while Loreto had to settle for a draw against Pembroke Wanderers, having led 2-0 in the final quarter.

In their previous three home games this season Loreto had won 5-0, 5-0 and 5-1 and it looked like they might be on course for a similarly comfortable afternoon when Sarah Clarke gave them a first quarter lead. It took them until early in the final period, though, to double that advantage through Siofra O’Brien, by which time the points looked safe.

But Pembroke, in fine form of late having won four of their last five games, weren’t done, Laura Noble, with her fourth goal of the campaign, halving the deficit. And having taken off their goalkeeper to play with a kicking back, Pembroke piled on the pressure – pressure that paid off handsomely at the death when Hayley O’Donnell levelled from a penalty corner.

Pegasus, meanwhile, ran out 3-1 winners away to Muckross, but they were made to work hard for their points, their second and third goals not coming until the final 10 minutes. Alex Speers finished off a swift counter-attack to give them a first quarter lead, but Sarah O’Loughlin equalised before half-time. Speers finally restored the visitors’ lead on 60 minutes from a penalty corner, before Michelle Harvey sealed the points two minutes later.

Cork Harlequins produced their best result of a rollercoaster of a season when they beat UCD 2-0 at Belfield to rise to fifth in the table. Michelle Barry gave them an early lead when she was first to the rebound after Cliodhna Sargent’s shot had been saved by Clodagh Cassin, Yvonne O’Byrne making it 2-0 in the second half after Harlequins had withstood heavy UCD pressure.

Saturday’s other two Hockey League games both ended 1-1, Kate McKenna securing a point for Railway Union after Caroline Adams had given Ards the lead, while a solo effort from Gemma Frazer earned Belfast Harlequins a draw against Old Alexandra for whom Aine Connery had opened the scoring.

Hockey League – Saturday: Loreto 2 (S Clarke, S O’Brien), Pembroke Wanderers 2 (L Noble, H O’Donnell); UCD 0, Cork Harlequins 2 (M Barry, Y O’Byrne); Ards 1 (C Adams), Railway Union 1 (K McKenna); Belfast Harlequins 1 (G Frazer), Old Alexandra 1 (A Connery); Muckross 1 (S O’Loughlin), Pegasus 3 (A Speers 2, M Harvey).

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