Hockey: Pegasus bid to move to the top

Kate Gourley scored for Pegasus during the week
Kate Gourley scored for Pegasus during the week

Pegasus have a chance to go to the top of the women's EY Irish Hockey League standings if they can defeat leaders Loreto in Dublin on Saturday.

While it's a tall order against the Leinster side, who won the corresponding game 2-0 in Belfast before Christmas, Pegasus will be go into the game with confidence following a 4-1 win over Ards on Wednesday night.

However, it took three late goals to see off their Ulster rivals after the game had been tied at 1-1, Harriet Platt cancelling out Alex Speers' opener.

Pegasus sealed the win with three goals in the last 13 minutes when Caitlin Harvey, Kate Gourley and Taite Doherty were on target.

The Belfast side defeated Railway Union 3-1 on Saturday after making a terrific start to the game, scoring all their goals in the first 27 minutes, before Railway staged a second half revival.

It was a similar story in their match with Pembroke a fortnight earlier when they led 2-0 after the first quarter before allowing the Dublin side gain a foothold after half-time.

Pegasus' leading scorer Speers said: "We have been happy with the way we have been playing since losing to UCD and our penalty corners have been going well this season."

"They let us down on too many occasions last season but we have been working hard on them in training and it's nice when you can see the dividends."

Ards will have a chance to make up ground on Saturday as they travel to Dublin to face Old Alex - a game they will be targeting to pick up at least a point from.

Becky Weir's side currently occupy the relegation play-off spot and their realistic target will be to stay there as they are 11 points adrift of Alex, who are third from bottom, and one better off than basement side Muckross

Belfast Harlequins will be aiming to bounce back from their disappointing 4-2 loss to their Cork namesakes when they host UCD in the late slot at Deramore.

That defeat damaged their chances of making the play-offs and took some of the gloss off a 4-1 win over Muckross in the first part of last weekend's double header.

However, with Ireland World Cup star Zoe Wilson back after injury and Jenna Watt in goal scoring form with three in the last two games, Davy Frazer's side will be quietly confident of taking something from the game.

In IHL 2, Queen's can take a step closer to a place in the promotion play-offs if they can beat or even draw with Trinity in Dublin.

However, their domestic form has taken a dip as they are now without a win in four matches following a 2-0 loss to Ulster Elks on Wednesday night.

Hannah Irwin gave Elks a ninth minute lead when she fired home on her backhand and Carla Smith added number two after 25 minutes on a counter attack.

So Queen's will be anxious to bounce back on Saturday when they face a tough Trinity side

The students hold an eight-point lead at the top of their pool and five more from their remaining three games would be enough to take them further.

Coach Simon Bell said: "A draw against a very strong Trinity side wouldn't be a bad result for us but we need to take our chances.

"We had enough of them in the first half against Lisnagarvey on Saturday but ended up scrambling a draw with a last minute equaliser.

"It was the same against Elks as we had most of the possession but were unable to take our chances."

Leaders Ballymoney tackle Rainey in Magherafelt on Saturday while second placed Lurgan, who are four points behind, are away to Randalstown on Friday night.

Meanwhile, on the men's front, Lisnagarvey have been drawn to face Instonians in the Anderson Cup semi-finals, while Kilkeel or Banbridge will play Cookstown.Kilkeel have one foot in the last four after trouncing an under strength Bann team 8-2 on Wednesday night in the first leg, helped by a hat-trick from David Finlay.

On Saturday Cookstown will be aiming to secure maximum points when they host Annadale in the EYHL as they continue their survival bid.

The Tyrone side currently occupy the relegation play-off spot but go into the game in confident mood after a battling display ingoing down to a late goal in a 4-3 loss to leaders Glenanne last week.

Lisnagarvey will be expected to see off Cookstown's fellow strugglers YMCA at Comber Road while Bann are away to Monkstown.

In the IHL 2, Instonians could leapfrog Corinthian at the top of their group if they can beat the Dublin side at Shaw's Bridge.

Ballynahinch, fresh from their Intermediate League triumph, travel to Portrush for the Irish Hockey Challenge semi-final, having also already lifted the Linden Cup.