Railway Union on track for final Champions Trophy place
Pegasus, on 32 points, in pole position to join the already-qualified Hermes and Ulster Elks
It’s now left to Pegasus, Railway Union and UCD to battle it out for the last two places in the season’s finale. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
Pegasus are on 32 points, Railway on 30 and UCD on 29 going in to the final round of league matches, the students further disadvantaged by an inferior goal difference that would likely cost them if they finished level on points with either of their rivals. Pegasus are better off by seven goals, Railway by ten.
Only a dramatic goal difference swing, then, would prevent Pegasus from advancing even if they were to lose to Elks at home on Saturday. In the absence of that occurring it will be a straight contest between Railway and UCD for qualification.
Railway missed their chance of sealing their Champions Trophy spot when they lost 1-0 at home to Ards last weekend, the Ulster side brushing off the disappointment of losing the Irish Senior Cup final on penalty strokes to register the win that secured their place in next season’s Hockey League, condemning UCC to a relegation play-off.
Railway have a second chance, though, Pembroke Wanderers their opponents at Park Avenue where a win would ensure Champions Trophy qualification. A defeat or a draw might even see them go through depending on how UCD fare away to Ards – nothing less than a win will do for the students.
Loreto, Old Alexandra, Glenanne, Lurgan, Randalstown, Belfast Harlequins, Galway and Bandon, meanwhile, begin their quest to win a Hockey League place for next season in the provincial play-offs.
Round one of the round robin takes place over the weekend from today to Sunday.
The play-off finals will be held on April 23rd and 24th, the winners earning automatic entry to next season’s league, replacing relegated Greenfields, while the runners-up will take on UCC in a ‘promotion/ relegation’ playoff.
IRISH HOCKEY LEAGUE
Saturday: Pegasus v Ulster Elks, Queens, 1.0; Hermes v UCC, Booterstown, 2.0; Greenfields v Cork Harlequins, Dangan, 2.20; Ards v UCD, Ards Park, 2.30; Railway Union v Pembroke Wanderers, Park Avenue, 2.30.
Hockey League – Provincial Play-offs
Friday: Loreto v Galway, Monkstown, 5.30; Lurgan v Randalstown, Lisnagarvey, 5.30; Belfast Harlequins v Bandon, Monkstown, 7.30; Old Alexandra v Glenanne, Lisnagarvey, 7.30.
Saturday: Bandon v Galway, Monkstown, 3.15; Randalstown v Old Alexandra, Lisnagarvey, 4.0; Loreto v Belfast Harlequins, Rathdown, 4.15; Lurgan v Glenanne, Lisnagarvey, 5.30.
Sunday: Bandon v Loreto, Monkstown, 2.30; Galway v Belfast Harlequins, Monkstown, 2.30; Glenanne v Randalstown, Lisnagarvey, 2.30; Lurgan v Old Alexandra, Lisnagarvey, 2.30.