Pegasus stage comeback to stun UCD in Hockey League
Reigning champions’ victory keeps pressure on league leaders Pembroke Wanderers
Pegasus’s Shirley McCay in action for Ireland. McCay was key to her club’s comeback against UCD. Photograph: Inpho
They may have lost a few players from last season’s all-conquering squad, either through retirement or maternity leave, and they’ve had to try and bed in a bunch of youngsters in this year’s panel, but one thing that hasn’t changed about reigning Hockey League champions Pegasus is their habit of never knowing when they’re beaten. They displayed that trait once again on Saturday when they came from two goals down to beat UCD 3-2 at Belfield.
The students looked all set for their third win in a row, while inflicting on Pegasus their second successive defeat following their loss to Loreto the week before, when Niamh Carey and Sarah Young converted early chances set up for them by, respectively, Amy Elliott and Ellen Curran.
But Pegasus were level by half-time, Ireland stalwart Shirley McCay the driving force behind their comeback, and they were 3-2 up by the end of the third quarter, an Alex Speers double and the second of the season from Belfast Royal Academy schoolgirl Niamh McIvor turning the game around for the visitors.
They stay second in the table on goal difference from Pembroke Wanderers who edged past bottom club Belfast Harlequins at Serpentine Avenue, Orla Macken’s goal from a short corner deciding the game after Harlequins’ Jenna Watt had earlier cancelled out Sinead Loughran’s opener. Macken’s score made it five goals in as many games for the Pembroke captain, putting her level with Speers at the top of the goal-scoring list.
Loreto, meanwhile, moved up to third in the table, two points behind the leaders, after they made light work of an Old Alexandra side that had started the season impressively. Two goals from Sarah Torrans, though, and another from Jessica Meeke had them 3-0 up before Deirdre Duke got what proved to be just a consolation score for the home side in the final quarter.
Neither Munster side had any joy on their visits to Dublin, Catholic Institute left especially frustrated having led against Railway Union through Aoife Hickey. But Niamh Shaw levelled for Railway before half-time, Lily Lloyd putting them 2-1 up in the third quarter with a well taken reverse strike, before Institute had a chance to equalise with a penalty stroke with five minutes to go. Riona Norton saved, though, from Rosemary Pratt and Railway held out for their second win of the campaign.
Cork Harlequins, like their Belfast namesakes, are still waiting for their first win of the season after losing 4-2 to Muckross, the first victory of their campaign. Emma Barber twice equalised for Harlequins following goals from Anna O’Flanagan and Jessica McGirr, but final-quarter goals from Sophie Barnwell, who converted a stroke, and Nikki Keegan sealed the points for Muckross.