Women’s Leinster Division One
Hermes 2 (Eimear Horan 2) UCD 3 (Deirdre Duke, Caroline Hill, Rachel O’Reilly)
UCD guaranteed the league will go down to the final day as they held off a spirited Hermes fightback in a round 17 game brought forward with the upshot of allowing supporters to travel to Belgium to follow the Irish women in the Olympic qualifier. It was a tie filled with cracking goals, the first of which was tapped in by Deirdre Duke after Brenda Flannery intercepted on halfway, fed Rachel O’Reilly who chose against going on her reverse, spinning neatly and finding an over-lapping Anna O’Flanagan. Her square pass left Duke with the simplest of chances.
She had already seen Mary Goode save well from her while Niamh Atcheler made up the yards to clear one off the line before that opener on the half hour. Into the second half, Caroline Hill unleashed the jack-hammer to thump home from the right edge of the circle for 2-0 before O’Reilly applied a delightful scoop for 3-0 and supposedly cruising after controlling most of the play.
Hermes, though, have a battle on their hands to secure an automatic IHL place and they did not give up the ghost. Eimear Horan – taking on a very high centre-forward role – was pivotal, scoring a brilliant deflection after Sarah Patton’s right wing cross went to the near post. Horan’s touch dragged the ball across goal and into the far corner, wrong-footing Stella Davis.
That came with 22 minutes still to go and Hermes got a brilliant second three minutes from the end. Sinead Connery started the move with a pin-point diagonal pass to Caitriona McGilp who controlled deftly on the left. She and Gillian Pinder zig-zagged the ball into Horan’s path for a first time sweep which got a half-stop from Davis but dribbled over the line. Shouts for a late corner went unanswered, allowing UCD to hold on, moving them above Railway by a point.