After a thrilling opening weekend in the women’s EY Hockey League, the main contenders will be looking to soon emerge from the pack and reveal their hand as potential title winners.
Chief among them Hermes will be looking to back up last week’s statement win over UCD with another big performance on day two of the women’s EY Hockey League.
Their new arrivals made an instant impact with O’Flanagan’s hat trick, including a last minute winner, against perennial title challengers UCD was one of the weekend’s big results.
Next up are Ulster’s reigning league and cup champions Ards at Booterstown who opened their campaign with an amazing comeback draw against Pegasus having trailed 3-0 with 20 minutes to go.
But they have struggled at times on road trips to Dublin and will be looking to change that trend against one of the favourites for the fledgling league as Becky Weir told the Belfast Telegraph this week.
“I believe we don’t always play to our true potential at all-Ireland level,” she said. “But this is a great platform to show why we have been so successful in Ulster, and that we aim to do so in this league.”
Pegasus and Pembroke is another well matched showdown with the Ballsbridge side travelling north for the second time in as many weeks.
Railway Union make the long trip to UCC in a battle between the two sides yet to concede in the competition. Their mix of youth and experience was in evidence last week with goalscorers Emer Lucey and Niamh Carey coming from different ends of the spectrum.
Last season, Railway won 6-1 at the Mardyke but the students have strengthened significantly since then with a number of arrivals from Cork Harlequins and returns from Erasmus.
As such, this tie will give an early barometer of how far they have come off the back of their opening day win at Greenfields.
Cork Harlequins face Ulster Elks in a tie featuring Limerick natives Katie Campbell and Rebecca Barry lining out against each other for the first time after circuitous routes to their current clubs, as reported in the Examiner this morning.
The game comes a day after Megan Frazer’s birthday with the Elks travelling down a day before the tie to give themselves the best possible chance of success.
Miles Warren was pleased with the performance, if not the outcome, from his new look UCD side last weekend. Elaine Carey faces the side from her hometown as Greenfields come to the National Stadium.
In Leinster Division One, Genesis and Muckross meet in a battle between two of the promoted teams from last season’s Division Two. Both won on opening day 2-1, making this an intriguing contest to see how far their ambition can take them this term. Taming Nicci Daly will be a big task for the hosts at St Raphaela’s.
Old Alex’s fresh-faced panel showed up well against Loreto a week ago and, with an extra week together under their belts, they will be keen to get their first win on the board against Rathgar.
They could potentially field three McDermott sisters with Hannah returning from Indiana to join Freya and Chloe in the line-up.
Glenanne and Trinity meet in a traditionally hard-nosed contest in Tallaght while Avoca host Corinthian and North Kildare face off against Loreto at The Maws.
Women’s EY Hockey League (Saturday): Cork Harlequins v Ulster Elks, 1.30pm, Farmer’s Cross; Hermes v Ards, 2.30pm, Booterstown; Pegasus v Pembroke, 2.30pm, Queen’s; UCD v Greenfields, 2.45pm, Belfield; UCC v Railway Union, 3pm, The Mardyke
Leinster Division One: Genesis v Muckross, 1pm, St Raphaela’s; Glenanne v Trinity, 1pm, Glenanne Park; Old Alex v Rathgar, 1.30pm, Milltown; North Kildare v Loreto, 2pm, The Maws; Avoca v Corinthian, 2.30pm, Newpark