Plenty of bite to ISC Leinster-Ulster rematches

Revenge will be on the mind of Ulster’s Pegasus and Ballymoney as they face Belfield regulars UCD and Hermes, respectively, in Saturday’s ESB Electric Irish Senior Cup semi-finals with places in Sunday’s final on offer.

Pegasus’ wounds are of the more recent variety, stunned 4-1 in the 2009 decider by the students, but will once again have a vast edge in experience as they bid for a 14th Senior Cup crown.

Just a half dozen players remain from the UCD 2009 vintage while only Laura Wilson, Caitriona McGilp and Megan Tennant-Humphreys starters from that day to line out once more.

Skipper Tennant-Humphreys is a doubt having sat out last Saturday’s league win over Hermes, a factor which could be key. A superb number one runner at corner-time, it may give Arlene Boyles or Michelle Harvey slightly more breathing room to get a shot off on Stella Davis.

Pegasus are not without their turnover in personnel, too, notably Irish captain Alex Speers switch to Railway Union. But they are a formidable outfit event without Jill Orbinson.

Boyles, Claire McMahon and Suzanne Beaney have picked up a huge amount of titles between them and the additions of combative midfielder Stephanie Quinn and the rangy striker Vanessa Surgeoner to the panel this year adds more quality.

Kate McConnell is another with trickery of an international calibre while Pamela Glass is one of the tidily efficient rocks at the back.

But Rosie Carrigan and Rachel Burke’s rotation up front in 2009 were among the features of a breath-taking final performance and, with Irish panel members Chloe Watkins, Niamh Atcheler and Brenda Flannery in tow, Johnny Harte’s student forces have a few aces up their sleeve.

Skipper that day was Lisa Jacob while the coach was Mary Logue, both of whom don Hermes’ colours in the equivalent roles as they pursue a fifth Irish Senior crown and a first since 2006.

They have doubts over Sinead and Aine Connery who both were injured for their UCD game last weekend as they meet a side they ousted in 2005 on penalty strokes.

Few of that vintage remain in the Hermes side but Nicky King is one such player included, having been brought in on occasion this season to deputise between the posts for CPP-tied Emma Gray.

There is plenty of youth with Deirdre Duke, Laura and Gillian Pinder and Emma Russell still schoolgirls while Sarah Greene and Katie Codyre are a year into their student lives.

Their backline is one of the most powerful going, Christine Quinlan, Kerry McComish and Aoife McCarthy and Audrey O’Flynn laying the base while Jenny Burke still has the guile to unlock many a defence.

Ballymoney – winners in 2001 – have star names of their own, retired Irish vice-captain Bridget Cleland (pictured) the player-coach and Susie Martin among those who have played on the final stage before, most recently in 2008. Lauren Barr is back in the fray since the turn of the year having played with North Carolina in the US prior to Christmas.

They are in form, too, beating the Ulster Elks 2-0 last week to claim the Ulster Shield. Julie Nelson, however, may miss the final should her side make it through as Northern Ireland soccer concerns bring her to Spain on Sunday.

Elsewhere, last night’s 3-0 defeat for North Kildare against Railway Union II – double winners as they added league to IJC success – meant Three Rock Ladies will face Corinthian in the promotion-relegation playoff match.

Three Rock began the season like a house on fire, winning their first six games in succession before falling away, picking up just six points in their last 12 games.

Corinthian, meanwhile, are winless in league action this term but have shown an upsurge in competitiveness since Colm Blennerhassett took over in January making this a tight game to call. Three Rock forced Bray to extra-time in last year’s game before Wendy Adams ended their hopes of promotion.

Meanwhile, at U-18 level Loreto will be eager to emulate their adult 3rds, 4ths and 6ths promotion-based success when they face Muckross in the Wynne Cup final on Sunday in Whitechurch Park.

Indeed U-18 players Sally Jones, Ciara Vincent and Emma Gondry were part of the club’s fourth eleven who won the Division 5/6 Cup last week in extra-time.

Weekend and Parking information
** The IHA have made a barbecue and beer available for sale at Belfield which will be located on the balcony overlooking the pitch. The entrance charge daily will be €5 for Adults and €3 for Students and OAPs. U-13s are free.

** Cars coming from the Stillorgan Road (N11) entrance are asked to use the O’Reilly Hall Car Park 2 (as per the attached map). There is a new Pedestrian Route through to the hockey pitch. Please follow the signs for The Bowl – it will take about 5 minutes.

Cars using the Clonskeagh Road, please use the Newstead Entrance which is a red brick-gated entrance on your left just before AIB Bank if coming from Ranelagh or the 2nd right after the AIB Bank if coming from Goatstown. There are two new cars parks, just follow the road around to the left and this is a two minute walk to the pitch.

ESB Electric Ireland Irish Senior Cup semi-finals, Saturday: Pegasus vs UCD, 10.30am; Hermes vs Ballymoney, 12.30pm
Sunday: Final, 1.30pm

Division One/Two promotion/relegation playoff, Saturday: Corinthian vs Three Rock Ladies, 2pm, Serpentine Avenue
Wynne U-18 Cup final, Sunday: Loreto vs Muckross, 1.30pm, Whitechurch Park

Pegasus: Sharon Moffett, Jessica Perry, Kirsty McCollum, Nadine Graham, Shelly Sloan, Ellen Hood, Amy Cooke, Claire McMahon, Suzanne Beaney, Kate McConnell, Arlene Boyles (capt), Kerry Harvey, Grace Irwin, Michelle Harvey, Pamela Glass, Stephanie Quinn, Vanessa Surgeoner, Lucy Camlin
Manager: Julie Massey
Coach: Michelle Rainey

UCD: Stella Davis, Leigh Pelow, Caroline Hill, Rosie Carrigan, Megan Tennant-Humphreys (capt), Orlagh O’Shea, Caitriona McGilp, Chloe Watkins, Rachel Burke, Niamh Atcheler, Jess McMickan, Laura Wilson, Emily Menzies, Rachel O’Reilly, Leah Lenehan, Brenda Flannery, Laura Ridgeway, Aimee O’Connor
Manager: Richard Rellis
Coach: Jonathan Harte

Ballymoney: Jenna Holmes, Sammy-Jo Greer, Gayle Adams, Julie Nelson, Susie Martin (capt), Angie Huey, Katie Mullan, Bridget Cleland, Aine Kearney, Jessica Smyth, Lauren Barr, Nikki Parke, Catherine Knipe, Sue Ruddock, Jill Kennedy, Emma Lynch, Anne Hempsay
Manager: Liz Lamont
Player-coach: Bridget Cleland

Hermes (from): Nicky King, Lisa Jacob (capt), Sarah Greene, Gillian Pinder, Sinead McCarthy, Kerry McComish, Audrey O’Flynn, Jenny Burke, Eimear Horan, Sinead Connery, Christine Quinlan, Deirdre Duke, Emma Russell, Aine Connery, Aoife McCarthy, Laura Pinder, Katie Codyre, Anna O’Flanagan, Emma Gray
Manager: Fiona Connery
Coach: Mary Logue

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