McCay’s last second magic completes another amazing Pegasus comeback

Women’s EY Hockey League – day six round-up

Pegasus 4 (L McKee, N McIvor, A Speers, S McCay) Pembroke  3 (A Ward, A-K Trevor, A Naughton)

Pegasus staged an incredible comeback to move three points clear of Pembroke at the top of the EY Irish Hockey League after trailing 3-0 to the Dubliners in an enthralling contest at the Dub, writes John Flack

The defending champions looked dead and buried and strangely out of sorts as they conceded three times in the opening quarter.

But the fact they had more than 50 minutes to regroup proved to be a blessing in disguise as they fought back brilliantly, scoring three goals in the space of 12 second-half minutes to level. 

With the game seemingly heading for a draw, Shirley McCay popped up to score the winner with the last play of the game.

Pegasus coach Greg Thompson declared: “We started really slowly and they punished us but I always thought we could came back even at 3-0 down although I didn’t expect us to leave it so late.”

Alice Ward ghosted behind the home defence to net the opener after only three minutes and, three minutes later, Amy Kate Trevor doubled the Pembroke lead with a superb backhand shot.

Ireland star Gillian Pinder was causing Pegasus all sorts of problems at that stage and she released Sinead Loughran, whose cross was converted by Aisling Naughton at the back post on 18 minutes.

After a scoreless second quarter, Lucy McKee started the fightback in the 43rd minute with a terrific solo effort, displaying excellent camogie skills before firing high into the net. 

Three minutes later, Alex Speers set up schoolgirl Niamh McIvor who converted at the back post and, all of a sudden, it was game on.

With 15 minutes left, Speers hammered home the equaliser from the edge of the circle after a great ‘advantage’ from umpire Linda Coughlan and Pegasus sensed the game was there to be won.

As the game entered the final 30 seconds, Pegasus were awarded a penalty corner and McCay swept the ball home for a dramatic winner.

Pegasus celebrate Shirley McCay’s last minute winner. Pic: Billy Pollock

Cork Harlequins 2 (N O’Leary, E Barber) Old Alex 3 (N Evans 2, O Bools)

A Nikki Evans inspired Old Alex moved back into the top three a they held Cork Harlequins at bay at Farmers’ Cross for their fourth win from six outings to date in the league. The Irish international tipped in for a seventh minute opening goal from an Emma Russell pass for the only goal of the first quarter.

Orna Bools tapped in the second from a nice move down the left wing that was crossed into her path. Evans then fired in her second of the day before half-time from another flowing move.

Niamh O’Leary pulled one back in the 47th minute when her touch to Sarah Murphy’s crash ball went into orbit, looping over Carolyn Crampton. Emma Barber made it three penalty corner goals in two games with a power-slap form the top but it came with less than two minutes to go. It means the Cork side are still waiting for their first win of the campaign.

Muckross 1 (E Hughes) UCD 3 (N Carey, C Cope, H McLoughlin)

Early goals from the in-form Niamh Carey and Charlotte Cope put UCD in the frame for their third win of the season, strengthening their place in the top half of the table.

They were ahead from minute one as Sara Patton embarked on a typical run down the right flank and while her cross was blocked, Hannah McLoughlin retrieved and weaved an opening. Her push beat the goalkeeper with Carey on the right post to make extra sure.

Cope’s goal was a strong backhand shot from top D after Katie-Jane Marshall’s pass against the grain from halfway gave her enough space to work the opening. Muckross worked hard throughout the second quarter with Marshall and Lena Tice soaking up the pressure to limit the damage.

The Donnybrook hosts were right back in contention in the 43rd minute – with Tice in the sin-bin –  when Jane O’Brien sped away from her marker and picked out Estelle Hughes in the circle. She brilliantly met the ball to control into the path of her second touch, a rasping reverse-stick shot that beat the sliding Clodagh Cassin.

But the game was settled toward the end of the third quarter when McLoughlin’s penalty corner slap skipped all the way into the backboard down the goalkeeper’s stick-side.

EYHL Division 2 round-up

Corinthian continued their awesome form as they raided Lurgan for all four points on offer, giving them a full 16 out of 16 to date in EY Hockey League Division 2’s Pool A.

It was a real battle with Lurgan taking an early lead courtesy of Charlene Hull with a penalty corner strike. The reds, meanwhile, saw Rebecca Spence save a penalty stroke soon after but they kept plugging away and equalised before half-time thanks to Milly Lynch.

And Jodie Douglas won the day in the third quarter for Corinthian who had to defend a late series of penalty corners for their 2-1 success.

Trinity strengthened their hold on second place in the group with a 6-2 win over Cork C of I. Ruby Keating opened the scoring in the 14th minute from some lovely link play; Ailish Long got a second when Issy Delamer’s perfectly weighted overhead pass was controlled and finished.

And the students were 3-0 up at half-time from a cracking hit by Alex Burns into the circle which Amy Buttimer was able to deflect in. Sally Campbell and Rachel Burns added goals in the second half before Kay Gaffney got one back for the Cork side from a well-worked set piece.

Erica Markey made it 6-1 before Mel Ryan converted a C of I stroke. The result lifts Trinity to 12 points with Lurgan on eight and Cork C of I on six with the top two to go through.

Monkstown won the one game on in Pool B, 2-1 against UCC. Jenny Clein had given the Cork side the advantage from a corner but Aine Naughton equalised before the end of the first quarter.

Jen Hamill won it for Town in the third quarter, lifting the Dubliners up to second place on 12 points while UCC’s losing bonus point leaves them on nine. Ards remain top on 14 with Queen’s on four and Greenfields on 1. The latter two sides have a game in hand which will be played in February.

Pool A: Lurgan 1 (C Hull) Corinthian 2 (M Lynch, J Douglas); Trinity 6 (R Keating, A Long, A Buttimer, S Campbell, R Burns, E Markey) Cork C of I 2 (M Ryan, K Gaffney)

Pool B: UCC 1 (J Clein) Monkstown 2 (J Hamill, A Naughton)

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