Pegasus host Hermes in one of the classic battles in women’s hockey in Ireland in what could be a pivotal battle in Pool A of the Irish Hockey League.
Both ran up good wins on day one of the competition, Hermes impressively dismissing Railway Union 3-0, a result they repeated in the league – albeit by a smaller margin – last week.It shows an upwardly mobile start to life under Rudi Wortmann. An experienced base of Christine Quinlan, Caitriona McGIlip, Emma Gray, Aine Connery and Audrey O’Flynn has been healthily augmented by Aisling Naughton, Sinead Loughran and Suzanne Kelly.
Despite an opening day blank against Pembroke, they have top-scored in the Leinster league since then and look to have a serious mojo about them.
But Pegasus is always a tricky away trip and the Ulster side are unbeaten in their Premier League as well as the IHL. A couple of their experience heads have moved on but Rhianna Campbell and Ayeisha McFerran have freshened up the panel in recent times.
Railway Union will need to get back on track when they meet Lurgan on home turf after that opening day loss.
UCC, meanwhile, host Ballymoney who told the Belfast Telegraph this week they will be travelling with 12 players with school teachers Bridget Cleland and Ruth Sutherland and three schoolgirls involved in local games rather than travelling.
It makes it a tricky tie for the northern-most side against a UCC that have seen a large turnover in players in the off-season and have struggled in national competitions to date this term.
In Pool B, Ulster Elks trip to Loreto will make for interesting viewing. In their UU form, the Elks destroyed UCD in the intervarsities final last Monday – with the help of guests of the calibre of Chloe Brown – and should make this a big tie in the development of this group.
The Elks lost 2-1 in Cork Harlequins in round one but have the players – in international stars Shirley McCay, Stephanie Jameson and Shirley McCay – to do some damage and put Loreto’s new look side to a severe test.
One or both of UCD and Cork Harlequins will lose their 100 percent record with the students the clear favourites in a game set for St Andrew’s College in Booterstown. Ards host Greenfields in the other tie in the group.
In Leinster, Pembroke will look to move top of the division one table as they take on Old Alex with former members Erika Hinkson and Laura Gray in tow. Glenanne and North Kildare will be hoping to get their first win of the campaign at The Maws while Corinthian will aim to build on their recent result over Kildare when they meet Trinity.
Women’s Irish Hockey League (all at Saturday)
Pool A: Pegasus v Hermes, 1pm, Jordanstown; UCC v Ballymoney, 1pm, The Mardyke; Railway Union v Lurgan, 2.30pm, Park Avenue
Pool B: Ards v Greenfields, 1.15pm, Ards LC; Loreto v Ulster Elks, 3pm, Beaufort; UCD v Cork Harlequins, 2.30pm, St Andrew’s College
Leinster Division One: North Kildare v Glenanne, 1pm, The Maws; Trinity v Corinthian, 1.45pm, Santry Avenue; Old Alex v Pembroke, 2pm, Milltown
Division Two: Pembroke II v Avoca, 11am, Serpentine Avenue; Muckross v Loreto II, 1pm, Muckross Park; UCD II v Hermes II, 11.45am, Belfield; Genesis v Railway Union II, 1.45pm, St Raphaela’s; Old Alex II v Rathgar, 3.30pm, Milltown