Shirley McCay injury doubt for Pagasus clash against Old Alex

Shirley McCay
Shirley McCay

Ireland’s most capped player, Shirley McCay, one of six Ulster women in the World Cup silver medal winning squad, is a doubt for Pegasus’ Irish Hockey League trip to Old Alex on Saturday.

The 31-year-old Ulster talent coach had 11 stitches inserted in a nasty head wound sustained when she was accidentally struck by a ball during last week’s win over Ards and is undergoing concussion protocols.

She missed Saturday’s 3-2 win over Loreto which saw Pegasus leapfrog the Dubliners to go top of the table.

Pegasus captain Michelle Harvey said’ “It was a solid team performance. Even though we went 1-0 down early on our heads didn’t drop and we responded with a goal shortly after.” “We played with discipline and desire and the whole squad played well right until the final whistle.

“We are taking each match as they come and treating each like a final.”

Among Saturday’s other ties, Belfast Harlequins will be hoping to get their play-off ambitions back on track and do Pegasus a favour when they host Loreto.

Quins produced a battling display in the second half of their game with UCD on Saturday only to go down 2-1.

Second -bottom Ards are away to Pembroke as they attempt to widen the gap on basement side Muckross.

There’s a crucial game in IHL 2, as Queen’s look to end a five game winless run at home to Corinthian, following last week’s agonising 3-2 loss to Trinity.

With Queen’s, Lurgan and Dungannon involved in IHL 2 games, there are just two Premier fixtures at the weekend with third placed Ulster Elks at home to Mossley on Friday night and Banbridge hosting Rainey on Saturday.

Elsewhere, Arlene Boyles has been handed the lead coaching role with Ireland’s women on a temporary basis following last week’s shock resignation of Graham Shaw who is taking charge of the New Zealand national team.

At present, it’s merely an interim appointment but the former Pegasus and Ireland defender could be at the helm for an extended period as Hockey Ireland set about finding a successor to the Dublin man.

With most outside coaches who would fit the bill already committed to programmes with either the Pro League for the top nations or the 2020 Olympic qualifying cycle, finding a replacement looks set to difficult.

The first stage of Ireland’s Tokyo Olympics qualifying bid takes place in Banbridge at the World Series in early to mid-June, so there looks to be a good chance Boyles could still be in the job until then at least.

In the men’s EYHL, there’s little doubt about the top tie as Banbridge aim to stop a slump and get their title ambitions back on track against Glenanne in Dublin.

“Another difficult game for us especially due to our recent run of results,” said Bann coach Mark Tumilty.

“We need to be more clinical in both circles in order to get our season going again.

“We need to produce an improved performance and I have belief in the players that we can get back to winning ways.

“We still have a chance to win the league but I feel we need to win all our remaining games but at least I hope to have a full squad to pick from.”

Lisnagarvey suffered a blip last week when they were held 2-2 by struggling YMCA but they will be expected to bounce back at home to basement side Cork C of I while

Annadale travel to Three Rock.

In the Ulster Premier, it’s tight at the top as champions Kilkeel and Instonians face Newry at home and North Down away respectively with South Antrim hosting Bangor.