Pegasus snatch EY Champions Trophy title from Loreto’s graps

Women’s EY Champions Trophy final
Loreto 1 (S O’Brien) Pegasus 1 (A Speers), Pegasus win shoot-out 4-2

Pegasus backed up their EY Hockey League victory with a dramatic shoot-out win over Loreto to win the EY Champions Trophy for the first time.

It was something of a steal as they rolled with the punches for long periods against a fired up Loreto side who dominated for the most part.

Pegasus celebrate their victory. Pic: Adrian Boehm

And it looked like the laurels would be heading back to Beaufort from Banbridge’s Havelock Park when Siofra O’Brien finally broke the deadlock with under five minutes to go.

But Pegasus summoned a brilliant last few minutes to win a penalty corner which Shirley McCay slapped into the path of Alex Speers to lift into the goal-netting to make it 1-1.

And they carried that emotional momentum into the shoot-out, scoring four out of five efforts while goalkeeper Megan Todd kept out a couple for a 4-2 victory.

Pegasus skipper Michelle Harvey summed it up, saying: “We definitely endured a lot of pressure in the first half but absolutely amazing to get back into it and keep fighting all the way to the end. We always knew we had it in us to get the draw at least today and then have a good shot in the shoot-out.

“At that point, we just wanted to give everything we had. We got this far, won the league and so it was one last effort!”

Pegs almost got off to the perfect start when Lucy McKee drew a block from Liz Murphy inside the first minute. That was to be as good as it got for the Ulster side for the guts of an hour in an attacking sense as Pegs stayed compact to try and control the Loreto raids.

Nicci Daly was denied by the post from a snap-shot just before the end of the first quarter and fired another good effort wide moments after that break.

Sarah Torrans caused all sorts of problems in the second half, her first break drawing Todd – en route to goalkeeper of the tournament – off her line to make an excellent sliding save.

A minute later, Torrans rounded the goalkeeper but could not beat Pamela Glass on the line. It was a fine intervention from the defender playing in her last game before retirement, the last remaining player from the 2002 World Cup team.

Todd made another sparkling save to keep out Sarah Evans from Daly’s pass as Pegasus clung on until the 67th minute when O’Brien finally made the breakthrough.

Pegasus responded instantly and quickly drew a save from Murphy and then won a penalty corner – their second of the game – which McCay and Speers combined to score.

Megan Todd keeps out Nicci Daly. Pic: Adrian Boehm

The shoot-out saw Loreto take the early advantage with goals from Christina Hamill and Mia Jennings while McCay was blocked by Murphy. But Loreto were not to score again while Pegasus did not miss.

It was not without some fraught moments as Michelle Harvey miscued her first shot but grasped her second attempt. Kate Gourley made it 3-2 and Taite Doherty completed the job in the final round.

As for the shoot-out, Harvey paid tribute to her goalkeeper while also taking a deep breath of relief after her heart-stopping attempt.

“Megan has been a legend for us this season, keeping us in so many games. It was her time to shine and we knew she would be able to do it. Mine was intentional to keep everyone on their toes! I knew I had time to slot it in!”

The victory means Pegasus will represent Ireland in the new EHL Women’s competition in 2020 at Easter in the top tier of European club competition. Loreto will contest the EuroHockey Trophy.

“It’s awesome to be back in Europe next season. We already had a spot which took a little pressure off but we wanted to win this to and give an opportunity to play in the new top flight EHL Women,” Harvey concluded.

Loreto: L Murphy, A Meeke, S Evans, G McLoughlin, C Sherin, S Twomey, C Hamill, H Matthews, S Clarke, N Daly
Subs: K Crotty, H Mulcahy, S O’Brien, M Jennings, S Torrans, G Donald, A Taaffe, A Carragher

Pegasus: M Todd, R Maguire, T Doherty, M Harvey, L McKee, A Speers, G Irwin, S McCay, K Gourley, K McDonald, S Thompson
Subs: C Hart, C Harvey, K Miller, C McKane, P Glass, J Reid

Umpires: C Metchette, J Beamish

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