HOCKEY: Holders Elks see off Pegasus on penalties in Irish Senior Cup

Jordan Page celebrates her goal for Elks against Pegasus. Photo: Presseye
Jordan Page celebrates her goal for Elks against Pegasus. Photo: Presseye

A rollercoaster week came to a climax when Ulster Elks continued their Irish Senior Cup defence, beating Pegasus on flicks to book a spot in the last four.

The match, played in freezing conditions, ended 1-1 with Jordan Page’s opener for the Elks cancelled out by Alex Speers’ second-half strike.

A lot can change over seven days and after last weekend’s defeat on the road in Dublin, things couldn’t have got much worse for the Elks when a further three points were dropped midweek away to Ards.

A largely lacklustre Elks performance allowed the Co. Down side to score in each half meaning their league campaign has faltered somewhat after a very promising start.

And facing Pegasus three days later wouldn’t have filled the the students full of confidence but they set about the task determined and with a sense of urgency. Jessica McMaster had an opportunity from a tight angle and Rebecca Barry causing problems from the outset could make her shot count.

The University side broke the deadlock when an initial shot from a penalty corner was parried by Sammy-Jo Greer in the Pegasus goal, only as far as Page who slammed home the rebound.

Pegasus rallied, creating a number of opportunities to equalise but the Elks’ defence held firm to keep their side a goal to the good at the interval.

Conditions in the second half became very difficult for players, umpires and supporters alike but both teams stuck to the script of a full-blooded local derby.

Resolute defending from Danielle Wilson, Anna Kozniuk and goalkeeper Rebecca Davidson kept Pegasus at bay but the pressure told when a crash ball into the circle was deflected by Alex Speers.

Penalty strokes followed. Pegasus converted their opener and then Robyn Chambers matched the tally calmly netting against her old club.

Keeper Rebecca Davidson was the hero for Elks saving the next two Pegasus penalties - first smartly saving to her right and then saving with her feet on the left.

Crucially however, Anna Kozniuk and Rebecca Barry netted, giving the Elks the upper hand going into the fourth round of penalties.

Pegasus scored once again to keep it alive albeit briefly but when Shirley McCay confidently despatched her penalty the celebrations started.

The Ulster Elks are the current holders of the Irish Senior Cup and they go into the semi-final draw with Ards, last year’s beaten finalists, Hermes, and fellow students from Dublin, UCD.