Alex up to fifth with first win; women’s weekend preview

Old Alex’s upbeat week continued on Thursday night as they landed their first win of the season, beating North Kildare 2-0 to add to their eye-catching draw with Pembroke last weekend.

Once again, teenagers Miah Phelan and Sally Campbell were on the mark with the former grabbing a rebound before the latter scored from open play.

Alex's Sally Campbell scored her second goal of the week Pic: Adrian Boehm

Alex’s Sally Campbell scored her second goal of the week Pic: Adrian Boehm

It makes for a decent start to the season for Didi Cole’s side who saw the guts of last team’s panel move on during the summer but they are making a decent fist of readjusting.

An 8-1 blow-out against Hermes on day two looked a portent of dark times but it remains their only loss so far this season. Next up is Railway on Saturday, a side that has not hit the heights of previous seasons to date though they produced some patches of great stuff against Lurgan last time out.

Emma Smyth missed that tie but returned for Ireland’s third game against Scotland in midweek and give them extra impetus going forward.

In Leinster, games involving Railway have yielded just three goals and, with Pamela Smithwick in good form for Alex, it means this could be a tight battle at 4pm in Park Avenue.

The pick of the other games is Pembroke’s tie with Loreto. Sarah Clarke faces up against the side she played with for the last few season’s and will be hoping her Pembroke team can increase their conversion rate.

Six games this season have never seen more than a goal between the Dublin 4 side and their opposition. Three single goal wins have lifted them to the top of the division with a particularly robust defensive line to the fore.

Loreto, though, are on a high with their youthful panel recording two wins from two in the IHL. Lizzie Colvin’s return has given them plenty of bite in midfield while McGirr sisters Jessica and Sinead have grown into key figures in the team.

This tie will, therefore, give a good assessment of where the two sides currently are in terms of pushing for a place in next year’s Irish Hockey League.

Trinity have suffered from several absentees over the opening weeks of the season but were back to full strength for their win over Corinthian. Given the volume of draws in the league to date, it means that their ambition of pushing for the top five is back on track.

If they can back up that performance against North Kildare – yet to grab a point this term – then Gavin Bourke’s side could end the weekend in the top half of the table.

UCD play Glenanne for the second time this season, the first meeting 3-1 win for the students in Tallaght. For the Glens, the hope is that some of the Belfielders will be suffering from fatigue with Chloe Watkins, Deirdre Duke, Katie Mullan, Gillian Pinder, Nikki Evans, Emily Beatty and Anna O’Flanagan potentially playing their fifth game in seven days.

Hermes will hope to take some of their frustrations out on Corinthian following their 2-2 draw with Pegasus in the IHL last weekend. There, Eimear Horan was shown a red card for two bouts of dissent as the Booterstown club were left wholly annoyed by the umpires.

Any suspension, though, will not apply to the Leinster league. Hermes are going for four wins in-a-row in the league while Corinthian’s young team are looking for a second success. They play again on Monday against Railway Union.

The Irish Junior Cup tips off on Saturday, too, with UCD II vs Pegasus II potentially the pick of the games.

Women’s Leinster Division One
Thursday result:
Old Alex 2 (Miah Phelan, Sally Campbell) North Kildare 0
Saturday fixtures: Pembroke v Loreto, 12.30pm, Serpentine Avenue; Corinthian v Hermes, 12.45pm, Whitechurch Park; UCD v Glenanne, 1pm, Belfield; Trinity v North Kildare, 1pm, Santry Avenue; Railway Union v Old Alex, 4pm, Park Avenue
Monday: Corinthian v Railway Union, 8pm, Whitechurch Park

Irish Junior Cup, first round
Saturday:
Ashton v Belfast Harlequins, 1pm, Ashton School; Banbridge v Muckross, 1pm, Havelock Park; Hermes v Bandon, 3pm, Booterstown; Lisnagarvey v Lurgan, 1pm, Comber Road; Old Alex v Greenfields, 1.30pm, Milltown; Pembroke v Ulster Elks, 2pm, Serpentine Avenue; Trinity v Corinthian, 2.45pm, Santry Avenue; UCC v Randalstown, 3.30pm, The Mardyke; UCD v Pegasus, 2.45pm, Belfield
Sunday: Cork C of I v Glenanne, 2pm, Garryduff

Byes: Armagh; Cork Harlequins; Loreto; Portadown; Queens; Railway Union

Women's Leinster Senior Div 1