Irish sides Pegasus and Loreto pull out of European hockey tournaments

Irish clubs could drop a division in both competitions as sides cite player availability issues

Ireland international Sarah Torrans was on target for Loreto in their 4-1 win over Railway Union. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Ireland international Sarah Torrans was on target for Loreto in their 4-1 win over Railway Union. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

 

In what should have been their final warm-up game before heading in to European competition in the next week, both Pegasus and Loreto picked up impressive wins in the EY Hockey League on Saturday. But the two clubs have withdrawn from their respective tournaments due to player availability issues, Covid protocols complicating matters for Pegasus.

The Belfast side were due to compete in the European Hockey League in Germany next weekend, along with hosts UH Hamburg, England’s Surbiton and Dinamo Minsk of Belarus, while Loreto were in the eight-strong line-up for the EuroHockey Club Trophy in Lille, which begins on Thursday.

The withdrawals have created a major headache for the European Hockey Federation. Surbiton are now reluctant to take part in the EHL tournament because the absence of Pegasus, who they were due to play next Saturday, meaning they would have just one game. Russian club Ak Bars-Dinamo have also pulled out of the EuroHockey Club Trophy, leaving that tournament needing to be rejigged too.

Irish hockey now awaits the consequences of the withdrawals, which is likely to see Irish clubs drop a division in both competitions.

Back home, Olympian Hannah Matthews returned to action for Loreto, having missed the first two games of the season due to being in Covid-related isolation, and played her part in a 4-1 win over Old Alexandra.

Teenager Rebekah Fitzpatrick’s first senior goal gave Loreto the lead which Sarah Torrans doubled after the break, and while Mikayla Power pulled one back for the home side, final quarter scores from Siofra O’Brien and Grace Donald sealed the points.

Emma Quinn, meanwhile, got the winner for Pegasus away to Railway Union three minutes from time after Lily Lloyd had cancelled out Alex Speers’s opener for the defending the champions, that win putting them level on seven points with Pembroke Wanderers at the top of the table. Pembroke came from behind to beat UCD 2-1, Orla Macken getting their winner.

Catholic Institute moved up to third in the table with their first win of the campaign, after drawing their first two games, Leah Clery and Naomi Carroll giving them a 2-0 victory over Muckross, while Belfast Harlequins picked up their first points of the season with a 3-0 win over Cork Harlequins.

RESULTS

Catholic Institute 2 (L Clery, N Carroll), Muckross 0; Old Alexandra 1 (M Power), Loreto 4 (R Fitzpatrick, S Torrans, S O’Brien, G Donald); Railway Union 1 (L Lloyd), Pegasus 2 (A Speers, E Quinn); UCD 1 (K Egan), Pembroke Wanderers 2 (A Naughton, O Macken).

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