Old Alex will aim to pin down qualification for the 2014 edition of the women’s Irish Hockey League this weekend when they take on UCC in Garryduff in the final round of the wildcard playoffs (Saturday, 2pm).
Miles Warren’s side got the better of the Ulster Elks last Saturday 3-0 with Hannah McDermott, Sofie McLeod and Emma Duncan on the mark.
It sets up this date with UCC who had a similarly strong win over Galway and the students have been buoyed this term by the return of Miriam Crowley after a stint in Dublin with Hermes.
They ended their Munster league campaign in third place behind Cork Harlequins and Catholic Institute, picking up an eye-catching 3-0 win over the latter in December to show their potential.
Indeed, there are a number of strong elements to their side with former underage international Olivia Roycroft in the mix for Alex to keep under wraps.
For the Milltown side, senior caps Pamela Smithwick and Shirley McCay were joined this week by Erika Hinkson in an extensive international panel while Australian sharp-shooter Sofie McLeod is one to watch though her compatriot Jess Tremaine was returned home.
Sarah Canning’s experience blended with a youthful back line and lively forward options would give them the slight edge on paper to retain IHL participation with exam time on the students’ horizon.
** Photos with thanks to Carl Breaden
Electric Ireland Women’s Irish Hockey League wildcard playoff fixture: UCC vs Old Alex, 2pm, Garryduff