It’s double-weekend time for the women’s EY Hockey League with the top trio of Hermes, Ulster Elks and Railway Union playing key games that could shake-up the look of the table
For Railway, Cecelia Joyce is off to cricket’s ICC T20 World Cup qualifier in Thailand to trim their squad a little. Their weekend sees them play Ulster Elks on Saturday in what is a key game between third and second place.The Park Avenue hosts’ momentum has stalled a little of late with a draw at Ards and narrow defeat to pace-setters Hermes. The Elks dropped their first points of the campaign a week ago against UCD and face a huge weekend in their title bid this weekend with their third and fourth out-of-province road trips already.
After Railway, they play a day later at Hermes. As always, Anna O’Flanagan is the player to watch with 15 goals from six games already to her name this season, working off the support of Naomi Carroll, Chloe Watkins and Nikki Evans.
The Elks, though, have the meanest defence in the league with just three conceded at this stage, allied to the second highest goal-scoring record. They will be without Shirley McCay, though, for both ties over the weekend as she coaches the Ulster Under-18 side.
Hermes’ Saturday task features the other side in the top four, hosting Cork Harlequins. Olivia Roycroft – from play and corners – is the danger woman with four goals in the last three games, powering their three wins in succession that have lifted them up the table.
Pegasus and UCD is another interesting tie on the Saturday agenda. The reigning IHL champions got their first win of the campaign last time out after a series of narrow defeats.
Suzanne Ferris continues to be the fulcrum of their attack while Pam Glass has returned to action to provide experience at the back alongside Hannah Grieve.
It is UCD’s first road-trip out of Dublin after four successive games at Belfield started their campaign. Miles Warren’s crew have been showing increasing signs of gelling and their impressive 5-2 win last time around against Pembroke moved them into the top half for the first time.
Pegs host Ards on Sunday while UCD face Quins in their second tie of the weekend. Pembroke will hope to continue their run of away wins having already succeeded in Munster and Ulster with their away day at Connnacht’s Greenfields.
Their other trend is one they want to end as they have yet to win on home turf; they host Ards on Sunday at Serpentine Avenue. Amy-Kate Trevor has been a strong addition to Keith Crawford’s outfit this season and will look to continue that form.
UCC, meanwhile, are spending the weekend in Ulster with away days at Ards on Saturday and Pegasus on Sunday.In women’s Leinster Division One, Loreto made a big statement last weekend with a 6-0 win over Muckross – the only other side with a perfect record up to that point – to move three points clear at the top of the table.
It shows their strength and makes them clear favourites, if they weren’t already, to top the Leinster rankings and push for the EY Hockey League qualifiers.
Corinthian are next on the agenda at Beaufort. Old Alex and Muckross vye for second place with both sides sitting on five wins from six games – they play at Milltown at 3.15pm.
Women’s EY Hockey League
Saturday: Hermes v Cork Harlequins, 2pm, Booterstown; Ards v UCC, 2.20pm, Londonderry Park; Greenfields v Pembroke, 2.20pm, Dangan; Railway Union v Ulster Elks, 2.30pm, Park Avenue; Pegasus v UCD, 4pm, Queen’s University
Sunday: Pegasus v UCC, 1pm, Queen’s; Hermes v Ulster Elks, 2pm, Booterstown; Greenfields v Railway Union, 2.30pm, Dangan; Pembroke v Ards, 2.30pm, Serpentine Avenue; UCD v Cork Harlequins, 2.45pm, Belfield
Leinster Division One (Saturday): Loreto v Corinthian, 1pm, Beaufort; Rathgar v Glenanne, 2.15pm, High School; Old Alex v Muckross, 3.15pm, Milltown; Genesis v North Kildare, 4pm, St Raphaela’s
Monday: Trinity v Avoca, 8.30pm, Santry Avenue
Irish Junior Cup, second round draw (December 5): Ballymena v North Down; Banbridge v Randalstown; Belfast Harlequins v Pegasus; Corinthian v Trinity College; Muckross v Lisnagarvey; Pembroke v Loreto; Queen’s Uni v UCD; UCC v Cork Harlequins