Pegasus set to face Ballymoney in Ulster Shield final

Instonians goalkeeper, Richard Johnson saves from Lisnagarvey's Greg Thompson
Instonians goalkeeper, Richard Johnson saves from Lisnagarvey's Greg Thompson

Holders Pegasus will meet Ballymoney in the Ulster Shield final in January after beating Lurgan and Queen’s respectively in Sunday’s semi final double header at Stormont.

Pegasus were comfortable 2-0 winners over Lurgan in the first instalment and ‘Money defeated the students 2-1 in the second game which was a closer contest.

The holders had too much in the tank for Lurgan who did however have a star performer in Lucy McKee who was behind most of her team’s attacking moves.

But she lacked support up front and Pegasus fully deserved their win which earns them a revenge meeting with Ballymoney who had beaten them in the group stages.

There wasn’t much between the teams in the first quarter of the game and the first real chance didn’t arrive until the 18th minute when Suzanne Beaney’s shot was saved by Lurgan keeper Vicky Parks.

Two minutes later Grace Titler also had a shot saved as Pegasus began to look the more likely team to break the deadlock.

In the 26th minute a terrific run by McKee looked to have set up Zoe Hawthorne but she narrowly failed to make contact with the ball and the chance was missed.

A minute later Michelle Harvey’s penalty corner effort was saved by Parks and Vanessa Surgeoner went close with a reverse stick shot from the rebound.

With a minute remaining of the first half Sarah McClure worked her way into the circle at the other end but her reverse stick shot flew just wide as the opening 35 minutes finished scoreless.

Seven minutes after the restart Beaney earned her side a penalty corner and fittingly it was the former Ireland player who broke the deadlock after Arlene Boyles had found her lurking at the far post.

Six minutes later it was 2-0 and again it was Beaney who found the net this time cleverly beating the keeper with a lifted shot after an accurate right wing pass from Nadine Graham.

It took Lurgan 50 minutes to force their first penalty corner and McKee’s shot called Pegasus keeper Sharon Moffett into serious action for the first time.

Three minutes later Harvey’s penalty corner was taken off the line by Hannah Grieve and Claire McMahon’s shot from the rebound was saved and she then put the rebound past the post.

With five minutes left the umpire signalled a goal after Boyles penalty corner found the net but she quickly reversed her decision as the ball had been struck from outside the circle.

Part two of the double header was a more open less foul-ridden affair with both team moving the ball around well in the opening phase of the game.

Queen’s looked sharp early on and were unlucky not to have been awarded a penalty stroke when Hannah McMillan was illegally tackled in the circle but the umpire gave the defender the benefit of the doubt and gave only a penalty corner.

At the other end in the 16th minute Ashley McIlroy got down well to save well from Julie Nelson at a penalty corner.

Then with 11 minutes to go before the break McMillan slipped the ball to Katie Morris but she was unable to get enough power into her shot and Sammy-Jo Greer had little difficulty saving.

Ballymoney broke the deadlock in the 32nd minute when Nikki Parke advanced into the circle and drove a diagonal shot high into the net for the opener.

Four minutes after the interval Queen’s got the equaliser when Laura Robinson’s pass found McMillan and she squeezed the ball into the net.

‘Money went close to regaining the lead in the 55th minute when the impressive Susie Martin drove the ball into the circle for Jessica Lynch to touch on and Jessica Moore’s subsequent shot went narrowly over the crossbar.

With 14 minutes left Parke grabbed the winner when she fired home after being released by Emma Kernohan and although Queen’s finished the game on the attack ‘Money held on for a win they just about deserved.