Pegasus faces stiff examination of credentials

Ards Chloe Brown
Ards Chloe Brown

Just like Irish League football’s Premiership, this season’s women’s hockey equivalent is, whisper it quietly, threatening to become one of the closest for years.

Pegasus, like Linfield’s footballers in the Irish League although statistically more so, have been by far the dominant force within local hockey circles in recent years with a staggering 14 titles out of a possible 15.

But is the monopoly going to be broken this time around? That is the million dollar question and so far the evidence is there to suggest it might be as the current title race shapes up.

Just four points separate the top six teams and only Lurgan have a 100 per cent record going into Wednesday’s game against the Ulster Elks.

‘What’s happening?’ was a pertinent question ringing around Ards Leisure Centre last Saturday as news filtered in that Pegasus had dropped two more points from a 2-2 draw with unfancied Randalstown.

‘Town, after all, had struggled against the threat of relegation for most of last season and only pulled clear of the dreaded drop zone at the tail end of the campaign.

Earlier in the season the Co Antrim side had drawn 0-0 with the Shield holders in the group stages of the competition and as if to prove that result was no fluke they repeated the feat at the weekend.

Pegasus are notoriously slow starters but this season they have been slower than usual out of the blocks when one looks at their results.

In the Shield they lost 3-2 to Ballymoney although admittedly they were then without their influential captain and principle penalty corner striker Arlene Boyles.

In the early stages of the Premier League campaign Pegasus also dropped two points from a 2-2 draw against Queen’s at the Dub.

Midweek games haven’t always been Pegasus’s favourite slot and perhaps significantly all three games in which they slipped up have been played then.

Most people however will still make them title favourites and the programme is only four or five games old so there is indeed a long way to go yet.

Pegasus know that players like Claire McMahon won’t go on for ever and there has been a degree of experimentation so far in both the Shield and the league with a view to the future.

So write them off at your peril and don’t forget that they performed heroics last Easter to win the European Trophy just months after lifting both national titles namely the IHL trophy and the Irish Senior Cup.