Efficient UCD takes chance as Loreto bow out

Women’s Irish Hockey League, semi-finals
Loreto 1 (Sarah Clarke) UCD 3 (Anna O’Flanagan 2, Nikki Evans)

UCD produced an efficient performance to down a profligate Loreto who will rue a series of missed chances in the early stages as they bowed out of the Irish Hockey League at the semi-final stage.

UCD goalkeeper Tiffany Ellis keeps out a Loreto chance Pic: Adrian Boehm

UCD goalkeeper Tiffany Ellis keeps out a Loreto chance Pic: Adrian Boehm

It put Johnny Harte’s side through to the final of this competition for the first time as Anna O’Flanagan landed her opportunities in stark contrast. Indeed, it took just 20 seconds before Loreto created their first opening, Nikki Keegan’s run setting up Niamh Small but she shot off-course from close range.

The same pair created a top chance down the right only for Keegan to miscue with the goal gaping in the seventh minute. Their corner team was also to have an off-kilter day with five first half set-pieces yielding no joy.

By contrast, O’Flanagan stole the ball off Sarah Clarke mid-circle and a deft flick over Louisa Healy put the students 1-0 up from their first chance in the 12th minute. It was an illustration of the tie in a microcosm as O’Flanagan nabbed the second with a tumbling finish for 2-0 in the second quarter when Niamh Atcheler’s smash fell to Deirdre Duke on the left of goal.

A great piece of control was followed by a nudge across goal that O’Flanagan’s hunger applied the touch needed ahead of two defenders. Nikki Evans duly closed out the win in the 45th minute when she netted UCD’s first corner on the rebound. Loreto did get one back from their seventh corner just before the end of the third quarter when Sarah Clarke pinged one perfectly but the final quarter was a low-key affair with UCD easing over the line.

Loreto: L Healy, A Meeke, A Campion, S McGirr, N Keegan, R Keegan, J McGirr, N Small, S Clarke, H Mulcahy, H Matthews
Subs: Z Ennis, L O’Leary, B Biggam, C Vincent, C O’Kelly, R Murphy

UCD: T Ellis, S Greene, L Ewart, C Hill, N Evans, K Mullan, N Atcheler, A O’Flanagan, J Deacon, S Robinson, D Duke
Subs: O Macken, K Collins-Smyth, S Willis, E Beatty, E Carey, G Pinder

Umpires: A Keogh, C Metchette

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