Pegasus have targeted two former Ireland players as the main threat to their ambition of booking a place in the semi finals of the Irish Senior Cup tomorrow at the expense of Cork Harlequins.
While the famous Belfast club have lost the likes of Arlene Boyles and Claire McMahon to retirement over the past two seasons Harlequins can still boast the services of two of their former international team mates.
Karen O’Brien and Rachael Kohler are still going strong and Pegasus will be wary of their rich credentials as they make the long trip to Cork on Friday evening.
“As a group we are really excited about playing them although with a lot of international experience in their squad with the likes of Rachael and Karen it’s going to be tough,” says Pegasus captain Stephanie Thompson.
“But we are pleased with where we are at this stage of the season and there’s a lot of self belief in the squad so we will leave nothing on the pitch.”
Belfast Harlequins have an even tougher task as they travel to Dublin to play Leinster league leaders Hermes, who are on a 12-match unbeaten run.
The south Belfast side will be hoping they can reproduce the sort of form that helped them pull of a shock first round win over Catholic Institute in Limerick.
“We go into the game as underdogs but we have produced some of our best hockey this season with that tag,” says Quins coach Johnny Caren.
“The girls are starting to grasp what I have been trying to instil in them with our ability to play quick, counter attacking hockey using our strengths of pace and work rate off the ball.”
One Ulster side is guaranteed a place in Monday’s draw as the Ulster Elks host local rivals Lisnagarvey at the University of Ulster.
Garvey coach Mark Murray realises that his team will be massive underdogs as they bid to erase the memory of an 8-1 defeat by the Elks in the corresponding Premier League game.
“It’s obviously great to raise our heads above the parapet and to have got to this stage of the competition but it will be a tough game,” he said.
“But we have nothing to lose and that’s a great position to be in.
“The 8-1 result doesn’t even enter my head as they had a good day, we had a bad one so I suspect it will not be as comfortable for them this time around.”
With the cup and Irish Hockey Trophy taking centre stage this weekend, there is a truncated programme at domestic level on Saturday.
Ards will leapfrog the Elks and go to the top of the Premier League table if they can overcome Ballymoney while Lurgan entertain Randalstown in the other top flight game.