Women’s Leinster Division One preview by Jack McCann
A double weekend for four of the top five sides in women’s Leinster Division One looks set to have a huge bearing on the destination of the top four places and qualification for the expanded Irish Hockey League.
Leaders Hermes taking on Trinity in St. Andrews on Saturday before facing Railway once again on Sunday. Trinity will be hard pushed to come away from Andrews with anything. Hermes comprehensively beat Corinthian last Monday 8-0, having five different scorers and six goals from open play. They have not lost in the league since the opening day of the season.In their last seven games, in all competitions, they’ve won six and drawn one scoring 26 goals to boot and conceding only 4. Aisling Naughton has been their star forward so far, netting a brace against the reds last time out to bring her league tally to 8 goals in 8 games.
Trinity will need to be defensively sound for the full 70 minutes to get anything from the game in their attempt to close the gap on Alex, who are four points ahead of them heading into the weekend. Getting a result against Hermes will also widen the gap between themselves and the bottom two.
In Milltown, sixth place Alex play host to a fourth place UCD. Alex will be looking to build on their 4-2 away win in Whitechurch against Corinthian in their last game in the league. Didi Cole will be hoping that Leanne Ryan and Sally Campbell can both continue scoring, having both scored against the reds.
The young side will be up against it, playing a UCD side who will want to draw attention fully back onto the pitch, having had a result against Glenanne from the end of September overturned due to a registration infringement in the last week.
This is also the first game of a double weekend for them with their second game being against Loreto, so a win in Milltown would be a good start.
College will be hopeful of a result against the team with the third worst defence in the league, who have conceded 22 goals. The students are the league’s top scorers, with 33 goals in 7 games and the Alex defence led by Pamela Smithwick between the sticks, will have a busy day keeping the likes of Deirdre Duke and Nikki Evans at bay.
In St Columba’s, the game between Corinthian and Glenanne pits the joint lowest goal scorers against the third lowest scorers. Corinthian will be looking for their first win since the October 10 when they beat North Kildare 2-0.
Corinthian take on Glenanne this weekend Pic: Adrian Boehm[/caption]Between them, the Reds and the Glens have only scored 11 goals, so this is not likely to be a goal fest. Corinthian will be looking to youngsters Ailish Long and Holly Canning to help them to what could be a vital three points in their battle to avoid the bottom rungs fo the table against a side who are looking for their first league victory since the start of November.
Railway will be looking to get back to winning ways in the league against Pembroke Wanderers having been defeated 4-1 by UCD last Saturday.
However, Wanderers have, along with Loreto, the joint best defensive record having conceded only 6 goals in the league so far. With Stella Davis between the sticks being one of the start performers thus far this season. Davis kept a clean sheet last Saturday when Wanderers beat North Kildare 4-0, so they will enter this game full of confidence of getting a result.
Railway, perennial contenders for the past few years, will look to get something from what looks to be like a six-pointer in the top half of the table, as Railway will want to move up the table as quickly as possible, while Wanderers will want to continue their good form.
In Sunday’s fixtures, UCD face Loreto at Belfield and Railway face Hermes at Park Avenue. The battle of the four teams who have been the main teams in Leinster for the past few seasons.
This is second big game that Railway will play this weekend and their second one at home, so were they come out the other side of this weekend undefeated, they’ll have sent a clear message of their intent for the second half of the season to the other teams.
Hermes will however be quite confident of getting a something from the game having beaten the same opponents 3-0 and 1-0 in the IHL and league respectively already this season.
UCD face Loreto in Belfield for the second time this season and they will be confident of picking up another win similar to their 1-0 win the IHL already. The game will be just as tight as the IHL game and Loreto will look to the likes of Ali Meeke and Lizzie Colvin, who scored last weekend, to control things alongside Hannah Matthews.
Women’s Leinster Division One, Saturday: Hermes v Trinity College, 1.15, St. Andrews; Old Alexandra v UCD, 1.30, Alexandra College; Corinthian v Glenanne, 2.15, St. Columbas College; Railway Union v Pembroke Wanderers, 2.45, Park Avenue.
Sunday: UCD v Loreto, 4.00, Belfield; Railway v Hermes, 4.30, Park Avenue.
Division Two (Saturday): Railway Union II v Pembroke II, 11.15am, Park Avenue; Muckross v UCD II, 1.30pm, Muckross Park; Loreto II v Old Alexandra II, 2.30pm, Loreto Beaufort; Rathgar v Avoca, 2.30pm, High School; Hermes II v Genesis, 3pm, St Andrews