Ayeisha McFerran will return to the scene of Ireland’s recent World League 2 triumph tomorrow when she lines out for Pegasus against UCD in the semi finals of the Irish Hockey League in Dublin.
The Pegasus goalkeeper performed heroics in the penalty shoot out win over Canada but several members of the UCD team that played on the same side as the 19 year-old on that occasion will tomorrow will be on the opposing team.
Pegasus have been training hard since their last Premier League game nine days ago when they beat Randalstown 4-1 but UCD have been in more recent action.
Captained by former Ballymoney striker Katie Mullan, the Dublin students finished a very creditable sixth in the top flight of the European Club Championships in the Netherlands.
That was the highest finish by an Irish team for 20 years after Randalstown went one better with a joint fifth place finish in 1995 in Utrecht.
So one would think, provided fatigue hasn’t crept in, that UCD will start warm favourites with three tough games in four days under their belt.
McFerran firmly believes that Pegasus are capable of pulling off an upset as they attempt to go one better than last year and reach the final against either Loreto or Hermes.
“I am really looking forward to playing UCD with us finishing off the domestic season playing some great hockey and them coming back from Europe.” she said.
“It will be a pretty tight match as we know they have several pretty handy internationals in their team. But we have great players, too, and we have been performing really well recently - we know it won’t be easy but we are all looking forward to it.”
The IHL represents a last chance saloon for the Belfast side if they aren’t to finish a season without a major trophy which would be a rare event in itself.
This season it was Ards who called most of the shots, as they claimed a Premier League-Denman Ulster Shield double.
However while Pegasus may have missed out on the domestic trophies - bar the pre-season nine-a-side tournament title - their form in the IHL has been impressive.
They topped their group on goal difference ahead of Leinster champions Hermes and held the Dublin side to a 2-2 draw in their opening fixture.
“We are very excited to be in this position with what, essentially, is what I would call a learning side.” said coach Arlene Boyles.
“No doubt, we will carry the underdog tag into the UCD game but we have become used to that.
“They did very well in Europe so we expect them to be very sharp when we play them on Saturday.”
“We will have to start the game well and try our best to compete with them and enjoy the experience. One thing is for sure though - we are not going down there simply to make up the numbers.”
Meanwhile Queen’s II can clinch the Junior One title tomorrow if they can beat their Belfast Harlequins counterparts at Upper Malone.
In the midweek 3-0 win over Randalstown, Rebecca Cowden scored an excellent solo goal from open play in the first half.
Katherine Welshman then scored from open play after the break before Stephanie McBride converted a penalty corner variation to seal a crucial win.