Mighty Quins hold nerve to reach EY Champs Trophy final

Women’s EY Champions Trophy semi-final
Cork Harlequins 2 (M Barry 2) Pegasus 2 (S Thompson, S McCay), Cork Harlequins win shoot-out 3-1
Cork Harlequins held their nerve in the shoot-out series to beat Pegasus 3-1 after a hotly contested 2-2 draw in normal time in the Rathfarnham heat, setting up a Sunday final date with Loreto for the EY Champions Trophy at 2.30pm.

Cork Harlequins celebrate their shoot-out win. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Coolly taken shoot-outs from Cliodhna Sargent, Michelle Barry and Rebecca Barry got them over the line with only Taite Doherty able to reply from Pegs’ four efforts, giving Quins the chance at a first title.

Pegasus took a third minute when Shirley McCay’s slapped corner shot was well saved by Emma Buckley but right into the path of Steph Thompson who nudged the ball in from close range.

The reply was swift with Michelle Barry spotting half a chance to unleash a reverse, taking it early enough to catch the defence unawares with the ball spinning off a defender and through goalkeeper Sammy-Jo Greer.

At times, Quins looked like pulling clear during the second quarter with a serious spell of possession and menace. They did get one on the board, an absolute peach of a move. Roisin Upton burst out of her own 23 and delivered a fine backhand pass down the line that invited Naomi Carroll to race onto.

Carroll laid back to Upton who passed it back to her on the baseline, eliminating the last defender, allowing Carroll to pick out Michelle Barry to flick home despite Greer’s diving efforts.

With each strong spell of Quins pressure, though, came an equal riposte from Pegasus and they were level at three quarter time. They had one impudent corner lob-flick from McCay – spotting Buckley going down early – volleyed away by Sargent.

But another corner slap drew the goal, lifting the ball beyond the logged Buckley with the post woman unable to get enough to clear off the line this time. The debate went on as to whether it would have crossed the line at backboard height but such appeals were waved away.

Quins again had the best of the final quarter, particularly when Katie McKee was shown a yellow for a foul on Upton. Michelle Barry’s reverse was the closest call while Carroll twice flicked into Greer’s stomach as Pegasus stood firm for a shoot-out chance.

After a scoreless first round, Sargent took the initiative with a thumping hit from the top; Lucy McKee tried the same route but went just wide. The third round was also scoreless but both Michelle and Rebecca Barry showed confidence to shoot home and out of reach of the Ulster side.

Cork Harlequins: E Buckley, C Sargent, Y O’Byrne, R Upton, S Murphy, J O’Halloran, N Carroll, C Perdue, O Roycroft, R Barry, M Barry, I Burns, E O’Leary, A O’Grady, R Hobbs, S Griffin, E Barber, E O’Meara

Pegasus: S-J Greer, H Grieve, C Harvey, R Maguire, T Doherty, K Morris, M Harvey, L McKee, K McKee, A Speers, R McMillan, G Irwin, S McCay, P Glass, K Gourley, S Thompson, M Bowyer, M Todd

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