The women’s EY Hockey League’s top two showdown at Queen’s on Sunday with Pegasus’ 100% record being put to the test by hot on their heels Loreto.
The Beaufort side will hope their six Irish Under-23 players don’t have too much weariness in the legs following their roles this week in Terrassa with Christina Hamill, Mia Jennings, Siofra O’Brien, Liz Murphy, Grace McLoughlin and Caitlin Sherin involved.
Pegasus, for their part, had Ruth Maguire included. The Ulster side have seen goalkeeper Sammy-Jo Greer take a break from game due to work commitments with Megan Todd set to be the number one for the foreseeable future.
“I’ve enjoyed my time with Pegasus immensely and can’t thank the girls or the club enough for the opportunities I’ve had,” she told the Belfast Telegraph.
“Special mention should go to goalkeeping coaches Sammy Downes and Sharon Moffet, and also my mum, who have been a source of continuous support.
“I’ve been playing hockey now for 15 years but, unfortunately at this time, due to work commitments, I felt it was time to take a step back as I couldn’t give 100% to training and league matches and I wouldn’t want to go into a season half-committed.”
Abbie Russell sustained an injury on that Irish Under-23 tour to Spain and looks set to be out for the next three weeks. It means she will miss UCD’s date with Belfast Harlequins.
The students, though, did give their wider panel lots of game time during the week with many of the second string staking their claim for a place on the frontline in their intervarsities success on Monday.
With several of Miles Warren’s side in Terrassa, they had to shuffle their pack but did so to great effect, winning the title with back-to-back shoot-out wins in the semi-final against Queens and final against UU.
In the one game on Saturday, Railway Union and Cork Harlequins will be vying for their second wins of the campaign when they meet at Park Avenue.
Pembroke meet Muckross in the top division for the first time with the Serpentine Avenue hosts looking to continue their fine run of recent form.
Ards, meanwhile, have yet to register a goal this term, a run they will hope to end when they come up against a confident Old Alex who are competing in the upper echelons of the table since promotion.
It’s day three of EYHL2 with Queen’s looking to keep up their winning start when they face fellow students Trinity. Queens won their varsities meeting last weekend 2-0 to give them a psychological edge. UCC and Greenfields line out in the other Pool 1 tie on Sunday.
Pool 2 is all on Saturday with Dungannon hosting Monkstown while NUIG welcome Catholic Institute in a western derby of sorts.
There are four Leinster Division One ties, too, with Corinthian and Glenanne both hoping to leapfrog Trinity. The red meet Our Lady’s while the Glens take on North Kildare at the Maws.
Women’s weekend fixtures
EY Hockey League
Saturday: Railway Union v Cork Harlequins, 1pm, Park Avenue
Sunday: Ards v Old Alex, 2pm, Londonderry Park; Pegasus v Loreto, 2pm, Queen’s; Pembroke v Muckross, 4pm, Serpentine Avenue; UCD v Belfast Harlequins, 1.30pm, Belfield
EYHL Division 2
Pool 1 (all Sunday): Queen’s University v Trinity, 12pm, Queen’s; UCC v Greenfields, 3pm, The Mardyke
Pool 2 (all Saturday): Dungannon v Monkstown, 3pm, Royal School; NUIG v Catholic Institute, 1.20pm, Dangan
Leinster Division One (all Saturday): Avoca v Rathgar, 2.30pm, Newpark; Corinthian v Our Lady’s, 12.30pm, Whitechurch Park; Naas v Genesis, 12pm, Caragh Road; North Kildare v Glenanne, 3pm, The Maws
Munster Division One (Saturday): Bandon v Cork C of I, 4.30pm, Bandon GS; Limerick v Ashton, 1.30pm, Villiers