Leinster double winners ousted in Limerick

Electric Ireland Women’s Irish Hockey League, round five
Pool A
Pegasus joined Hermes in the final four but not in the manner they expected as the Ulster champions lost 3-1 but UCD could not take the opportunity to capitalise, falling 3-2 in Limerick to Catholic Institute to miss out on a semi-final berth.

Hermes came from a goal down against Pegs to prosper, recovering well after Suzanne Beaney netted five minutes in. Aoife Harte cracked home for 1-1 in the 13th minute.

Claire McMahon missed from the spot in the second quarter and Hermes duly took advantage of the let off after an end-to-end spell in the third quarter. Lisa Jacob made it 2-1 when she dinged the bar with the ball dropping in behind Sharon Moffett and the Irish international closed out the win four minutes from time from Miriam Crowley’s cross.

That result had opened the door for UCD but they were undone by an Insta side looking to close the campaign on a high. Both Naomi Carroll and Eimear Cregan went close in the opening phases but the students had the lead when Deirdre Duke won a corner which Nicola Gray swept home.

But the lead did not last to quarter-time as Cregan rounded Stella Davis and slotted home an equaliser in the 17th minute. UCD were on top but were frustrated once again as Caroline Hill saw Christine O’Shea take her effort off the line but they had a lead once more when Leah Ewart finished off Anna O’Flanagan’s cross.

Cregan created the second equaliser for Carroll in the third period to set up a frenetic closing period in which Duke went close to a huge go-ahead goal but it was not forthcoming and they were stung at the death when Carroll’s speed created room down the left and she cross for Kym Daly to grab the winner.

Elsewhere, Old Alex continued their strong lead-in to the Irish Senior Cup quarter-finals with a good 2-0 win in Armagh, Hannah McDermott finishing off a first half counter-attack before Emma Russell got her 13th of the campaign to complete the win in the 54th minute.

Pool A results: Pegasus 1 (S Beaney) Hermes 3 (L Jacob 2, A Connery); Catholic Institute 3 (E Cregan, N Carroll, K Daly) UCD 2 (N Gray, L Ewart); Armagh 0 Old Alex 2 (H McDermott, E Russell)
Final standings (goal difference): 1 Hermes 18pts (12); 2 Pegasus 11pts (3); 3 UCD 10pts (2); 4 Catholic Institute 10pts (-1); 5 Old Alex 6pts (-4); 6 Armagh 1pt (-12).

Pool B
Draws for Loreto and Railway Union saw the two Leinster sides progress with Ballymoney missing out as they grabbed a late draw against the Beaufort side at the Joey Dunlop centre.

That outcome was short of the bonus point win they would have needed to reach the final four. Jessica Lynch gave them the perfect start but Cathy McKean slammed home in the 11th minute – via Katie Mullan’s small finger which later required stitches – for 1-1.

Hannah Matthews volleyed home a second after Ali Meeke’s shot deflected high and, in the third quarter, Sinead McGirr made it 3-1 to all but seal Loreto’s way to the semis.

Money were quick to reply and a minute later, Lynch flicked past Louisa Healy and she got her hat-trick with eight minutes left and while her side pushed for a winner, Loreto held firm.

At Farmer’s Cross, meanwhile, Railway and Harlequins played out a lively, end to end scoreless draw. Vanessa Sargent made the best save of the game in the third quarter but no goals meant the Dublin side had done just enough to make it through.

Lurgan, meanwhile, recorded their first IHL win as they came back from a goal down – scored by Steffi Bowe in the first quarter – as Charlene Hull and Zoe McNally in the second half got the goals for a 2-1 win.

Pool B results: UCC 1 (S Bowe) Lurgan 2 (S Hull, Z McNally); Ballymoney 3 (J Lynch 3) Loreto 3 (C McKean, H Matthews, S McGirr); Cork Harlequins 0 Railway Union 0
Final standings (goal difference): 1 Loreto 16pts (13); 2 Railway Union 15pts (13); Ballymoney 14pts (8); 4 Cork Harlequins 9pts (-1); 5 Lurgan 5pts (-13); 6 UCC 1pt (-20).

Finals weekend (Lisnagarvey HC, May 5-6)
Semi-finals: Loreto v Pegasus; Hermes v Railway Union.

2012/13 IHL qualified sides: Pegasus, Ballymoney, Lurgan, Ulster Elks (Ulster); UCD, Railway Union, Loreto, Old Alex (Leinster); Catholic Institute, Cork Harlequins (Munster).

Wildcard playoffs (UCD, May 18-20): Ards (Ulster), Hermes (Leinster), UCC (Munster), Galway or Greenfields (Connacht).

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