HERMES 5 PEGASUS 1
Anna O’Flanagan and Emma Gray inspired Hermes to the maiden women’s EY Champions Trophy at Havelock Park with a superbly contested 3-1 win over 2015’s national champions Pegasus.
It was Hermes first all-Ireland crown since 2008, ending a long wait but they were more than good value for the trophy after a breathtaking league campaign – heading the table by 12 points – laid the base for this victory.
They swept to a big 6-3 win over Ulster Elks in Saturday’s semi-final while Pegasus edged a 2-0 win over Railway Union to reach the decider.
Pegs did get out of the blocks the quicker with Vanessa Surgeoner going incredibly close to the first goal, volleying just wide when she caught a flying ball in the circle.
It led to a series of four quick-fire corners for Pegasus but Emma Gray – later named Goalkeeper of the Tournament – and her defence kept each of them out.
And, from Hermes’ first attack, they went up the pitch and nabbed the opening goal in the seventh minute, locating O’Flanagan on the left edge of the circle and she pumped the ball past Sammy-Jo Greer.
Only a couple of minutes later, the striker was through again with Eimear Horan feeding a great ball into her path before she unleashed another cracking shot for 2-0.
There were fraught moments as Pegasus pushed on at regular intervals with Gray doing brilliantly to smother from Taite Doherty to retain the 2-0 lead into the half-time break.
She also kept out Hannah Grieve’s sweep shot with an out-stretched boot. Doherty did get one by her in the 38th minute when Alex Speers broke free on the left and slipped the ball under her arm to the forward who avoided one tackle and finished at close quarters.
Pegasus were in the ascendancy in that third quarter but their momentum was stymied when Steph Thompson – a powerhouse in the semi-final – was shown a yellow for a foul on Carroll who made an excellent turn and run.
It helped Hermes to completely control the closing ten minutes and their clinching goal came in the 51st minute, a classily conceived effort from a free outisde the 23m zone.
Sinead Loughran picked up the ball on the left with space to shoot but she angled it to the back post where Nikki Evans was in situ to deflect in for 3-1.
The Dubliners closed out the win with the minimum of fuss and Hermes had their ninth all-Ireland trophy, following four wins in the Irish Senior Cup and four in the old Club Championships.
Pegasus: S-J Greer, H Grieve, R Maguire, H McMillan, S Ferris, K McConnell, A Speers, G Irwin, P Glass, S Thompson, V Surgeoner
Subs: C Harvey, T Doherty, N Pinkerton, R Henderson, K Morris, M Bowyer, S Moffett
Hermes: E Gray, S Greene, N Carroll, N Evans, C Watkins, E Horan, C Quinlan, E Curran, A Barnwell, S Kelly, A O’Flanagan
Subs: C McGilp, R Carrigan, L McInerney, S Campbell, S Patton, S Loughran, E Murphy
Umpires: A Keogh, F Davitt