Beaney drives Pegs to double

SUZANNE BEANEY apparently never retired from international hockey — her last appearance in an Irish jersey came in 2006 — but there’s little doubting the Pegasus hotshot is still one of the best forwards in the business.

Beaney took a step back from international hockey five seasons ago but never permanently made herself unavailable for selection.

Hermes though, will testify as to her ongoing prowess after she netted a hat-trick to defeat the Dubliners 4-1 in yesterday’s Irish Hockey League final at Hillsborough, Co Down.

That treble gave Pegs a remarkable domestic double, having also annexed a 14th Irish Senior Cup crown a fortnight ago; that too came at Hermes’ expense, Beaney scoring twice that day in a 3-1 victory.

Yesterday, she began with a wonderful solo goal, bouncing the ball past a couple of Hermes sticks and into the circle, before battering an unstoppable half-volley past Emma Gray in the Hermes goal.

Kate McConnell forced home a second before Hermes — who had soaked up waves of pressure from Railway Union in the semi-final 24 hours earlier, before netting three times in six minutes to take it 3-1 — again hit back on the break, Anna O’Flanagan darting along the baseline before squaring for Sinead McCarthy to score.

But with Sharon Moffett in inspired form between the sticks for Pegs, Beaney took over again at the other end, producing another bullet finish before clattering home a fourth.

Pegs’ victory on dual fronts — coming after Beaney, Arlene Boyles and a Claire McMahon brace had done for UCD on a 4-1 scoreline in the other semi-final — does at least provide some consolation of a European place for Hermes next season.

Meanwhile, Banbridge’s penalty shuttles ability proved key as they ousted Lisnagarvey following a 2-2 draw in an all-Ulster IHL men’s final which failed to ignite until the final stages.

Ross McCandless’ pair of drag-flicks were twice cancelled out in a similar fashion by ‘Garvey’s Timmy Cockram, sending the tie to extra-time and then penalties.

The IHL has adopted the EuroHockey League’s shootout method of one-on-ones in lieu of penalty strokes, and Bann ran out 3-1 victors in that format to win their first national senior trophy since 1991.

They had also done for Glenanne in similar fashion in the semi-finals, three times seeing one-goal leads being pegged back in a 3-3 draw, before prevailing 2-0 on shuttles.

‘Garvey, who were chasing a first national title since 2005, saw off Pembroke Wanderers 2-1 on Saturday, Irish international forward Cockram again netting twice.

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