Hockey: Pegasus are crowned champions

Pegasus celebrate after being crowned EY Hockey League champions.
Pegasus celebrate after being crowned EY Hockey League champions.
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Pegasus were crowned EY Irish Hockey League champions for the first time since the competition’s expanded format was introduced four years ago after hammering Muckross 6-0 at the Dub on Saturday.

The Belfast side needed only a point to make sure the trophy would be heading to Ulster for the first time but they turned on the style to crush the youthful Dublin side.

Having won the regulation season title, Pegasus are now back in Europe as Ireland’s representatives for the first time in four seasons.

They will now go on to compete for the Irish Champions Trophy, contested by the top four EYHL finishers in Banbridge at the start of May.

As things stand, Pegasus will be up Cork Harlequins in the semi-finals, with Loreto meeting UCD in the other tie.

Team captain Michelle Harvey said: “We’ll go into the tournament with no pressure, having already guaranteed ourselves European hockey next season.”

“We have a break now and we then play Belfast Harlequins in our final match which will be good preparation for the Champions Trophy.

“We are delighted to have won the league, especially as we had a different squad this season with a mix of youth and experience.

“But we have been able to show consistency, taking each match as it came and playing well in almost every game, so we are super happy.

“I’ve been lucky enough to play in three previous European club tournaments and next year’s will be a great experience for our younger players in particular.”

The Muckross goal led a charmed life in the early part of the game as keeper Ellie McLoughlin pulled off a string of saves and Jessica Holland made two brilliant goal-line clearances.

But once Stephanie Thompson broke the deadlock in the 29th minute from a penalty corner, the floodgates opened.

Alex Speers and Lucy McKee scored to make it 3-0 after the third quarter and Caitlyn Harvey, McKee again and Claire McKane completed the rout in the last period.

Elsewhere, Ards remain a point ahead of Muckross at the bottom after a 2-0 defeat to Railway Union in Dublin.

Belfast Harlequins, with nothing more than pride to play for, lost 2-1 away to Old Alex, Claire Stone with a late consolation goal.

At domestic level, Lurgan can win the Ulster Premier League for the fourth year in a row if they beat Banbridge on Wednesday following the latter’s 5-1 victory over Ballymoney.

Queen’s are now the only team who can stop Lurgan after Jessica McMaster scored a hat-trick in a 3-2 comeback win over Rainey.