Pegasus and Ards commence IHL campaigns in earnest

Pegasus' Robyn Chambers
Pegasus' Robyn Chambers

Pegasus and Ards will set aside their domestic rivalry, temporarily at least, as they begin their Irish Hockey League campaigns on Saturday.

The two heavyweights, who face a potential Ulster title decider soon, have been drawn together in the same group of the all Ireland competition though tomorrow they face Old Alex and Ballymoney respectively.

The Ulster champions and their nearest rivals are both at home and that will come as a relief to Ards, in particular, as they have had a busy schedule in recent weeks.

As well as playing Saturday and occasional midweek games at domestic level, they had indoor training on Sundays to prepare for their trip to the European Championship III competition in Hungary last weekend.

The hard work paid off with a gold medal triumph but six games in the space of three days meant a tiring schedule.

So, with a crucial Premier League game to come against the Ulster Elks on Wednesday, they will have been glad to have avoided a trip south for their opening IHL fixture.

It promises to be a tough game against ‘Money as the Co Antrim side, who were in relegation trouble not so long ago go into the game on the back of three straight wins which have promoted them into the IHL next season.

Pegasus will be up against Ulster and Ireland player Shirley McCay as they take on Old Alex at Upper Malone.

Alex are fifth in the Leinster League table.

However, Pegasus won’t read too much into that as they lost to similarly rated Glenanne in the Irish Cup.

Lurgan, who, like Pegasus, have also had several player losses this season, make a return trip to Dublin to face Railway Union.

On Saturday they performed creditably before losing in a penalty shootout to Pembroke Wanderers in the Irish Cup semi-finals.

But Railway will be an entirely different proposition as they are one of the top sides in the country.

Lurgan hope to have Zoe Hawthorne back on board after she missed the Cup game with a back injury.

There is also a crucial Premier League game on Saturday as Randalstown host Lisnagarvey who must win at the Antrim Forum if they are to avoid the relegation play-off spot.

‘Town won’t be short of motivation as they need a win to keep alive their chances of an IHL wild card play-off.

Harlequins, who have finished their programme, will be watching that game closely as they sit just two points ahead of ‘Garvey and know that a ‘Town win or a draw would keep them in the safety zone.


Saturday: IHL: Pool A: Greenfields v Catholic Institute (2.30pm); Railway Union v Lurgan (2.30pm).

Pool B: Loreto v Cork Harlequins (2.30pm); Pegasus v Old Alex (2.30pm); Ards v Ballymoney (2.45pm).

Premier League; Randalstown v Lisnagarvey (2.30pm); Senior One: Ballyclare v Omagh (4pm).

Sunday: IHL: Pool A: UCD v Hermes (2pm)