Women’s Irish Hockey League
Railway Union went a long way toward earning a playoff place from Pool A as they saw off one of their main rivals, Hermes, for a top two finish in the group. It was the third time they had won at Booterstown this year and inflicted a second successive loss on the home side.
After a couple of early corners, Emer Lucey’s strike opened the scoring in the first before Kate Dillon doubled up in the 33rd minute from the flick spot. Hermes picked off another couple of corners early in the second half and got back into the tie when Christine Quinlan’s slap-shot got a touch from Aine Connery to guide home.It set up the fourth quarter nicely and the hosts had a chance to nick an important draw on the final hooter but Rachel Barnett kept out a corner at the death to garner a 2-1 win.
Greenfields won their first ever Irish Hockey League match with a 1-0 win over Lurgan as Mary Healy’s 13th minute goal claimed the day. Lurgan had the majority of play in the first quarter and came close after5 minutes but Sarah McClure saw her shot well saved. They also struck the post while they earned six penalty corners in the second half.
The Galway side defended stubbornly for the rest of the game to run out narrow winners.
UCD produced a hugely impressive away win in Limerick to run up a 7-0 win over Catholic Institute. They got off to a stunning start, building a 4-0 lead inside the first 11 minutes and never really looked back. It was 5-0 at half-time with Katie Mullan nabbing a hat trick in the rout.
The upshot of the weekend’s action sees Railway and UCD top the group with eight points with an already imposing four points between them and the chasers Greenfields and Catholic Institute.
Pool A: Lurgan 0 Greenfields 1 (M Healy); Catholic Institute 0 UCD 7 (K Mullan 3, G Pinder, C Hill, S Robinson, D Duke); Hermes 1 (A Connery) Railway Union 2 (E Lucey, K Dillon)
Pegasus placed themselves as the team to beat as their 4-1 win over Ballymoney meant they were the only side left with a perfect record after two rounds of games. Both Saharon Moffett and Sammy Jo Greer made decent early saves before Pegasus took took a first half lead via Robyn Chambers who deflected home.
Vanessa Surgeoner added two more in the third quarter, one from a corner and one from play, before Steph Quinn extended the lead to 4-0 in the closing quarter. Ballymoney got their consolation two minutes from time via a Jessica Moore deflection.
Loreto’s 100pc record in Pool B was broken by an Old Alex side they had beaten twice in provincial competition earlier this season. tying 1-1 in Milltown. It was an open tie with chances at both ends while Laura Gray and Hannah Matthews impressed in defensive modes for their respective sides, breaking up attacks and starting ones of their own.Louisa Healy and Pam Smithwick, meanwhile, picked off superb saves to keep it level at the big break. That status remained until Lauren Kingston was able to make the best use of some great work by Siobhan Scott Nielson for the opening goal.
They held the lead into the final quarter as Loreto pressed hard for an equaliser that arrived from a corner that was redirected in by Niamh Small. Both sides went for the win but neither could find a goal to leave it locked at 1-1.
Cork Harlequins bounced back from their opening dat setback against Loreto to record a fine 2-0 win over Ards that puts them right back into the mix of what looks a very competitive Pool B.
In a lively opening quarter, Karen Bateman threatened regularly for Quins while Ards became more competitive as time went on with Chloe Brown getting on the ball more and more. She created the first major chance with corner flick that was well saved.
Alex O’Grady subsequently evaded four Ards’ defenders to win Quins first corner but Cliodhna Sargent’s shot was blocked, keeping it scoreless going into the third quarter when they made their move. Sargent put her side ahead in the 52nd minute from another corner hit, her shot deflecting high into the net.
Within a minute of the beginning of the 4th quarter Ards bounced back, winning two corners but failed to capitalise. Quins then broke up the pitch and Bateman found herself one on one with Naomi McKnight. She neatly squared to Rachel McSharry to slap the ball home.
Pool B: Cork Harlequins 2 (Rachel McSharry, own goal) Ards 0; Ballymoney 1 (J Moore) Pegasus 4 (V Surgeoner 2, R Chambers, S Quinn); Old Alex 1 (L Kingston) Loreto 1 (N Small)