Ireland’s most capped sportswoman Shirley McCay has joined Pegasus from the Ulster Elks. The 29-year-old, who won her 250th Irish cap at last month’s EuroHockey championship, has opted to play in the EY Hockey League after the Elks’ relegation last season, writes John Flack.McCay says she had little alternative but to move clubs, with Ireland almost certainly contesting next year’s World Cup in London.
Ireland are first reserve and should clinch their place in the showpiece next month, assuming either Australia or New Zealand win the Oceanic Championship to promote the Green Army as those two nations have already qualified.
“Staying at the Elks wasn’t really an option but I enjoyed my time there thoroughly and made a lot of special friends and memories at the club.” she said.
“I know I have to be playing top-flight hockey to give me the best possible preparation going into what is a World Cup year for Ireland but I am very grateful to Elks for everything they have done for me.”
McCay revealed that she was tempted to join either Ards or Belfast Harlequins, the other Ulster clubs who compete in the national league.
However, Pegasus will be relieved the 29-year-old opted to join them as they attempt to improve upon last season’s sixth place IHL finish.
She added: “Quins and Ards are both strong sides and of course with (internationals) Lizzie (Colvin) and Zoe (Wilson) going to Quins they were always a possibility.”
“But I think If international players can add value not just to one club in Ulster then it can only strengthen hockey across the province and not just within one or two clubs.
“I have good friends at Pegasus that I have played a lot with over my career both with Ulster and Ireland.
“They are a strong side with quality players and I really hope I can go there and enjoy my season and add value to the team.”