After the Irish Senior Cup hostilities and an Irish international series, the women’s EY Hockey League clicks back into gear this Saturday with the race for the playoff places revving up in intensity.
UCD host Ulster Elks and their perfect record just a couple of days after a large number of the players lined out together in Irish green. For the Belfield hosts, Deirdre Duke, Katie Mullan, Gillian Pinder, Emily Beatty and Kate Lloyd were all part of that panel while the Elks contingent has increased to three with Gemma Frazer adding to Megan Frazer and Shirley McCay.As such, it makes for one of the ties of the round. Miles Warren’s new look side have had a tricky start to the season with losses against Hermes and Railway Union but victory in varsities – beating the Elks en route – suggests a growing cohesion.
The Senior Cup holding Elks, though, have a more steady line-up and will call on their greater experience as a group to try and record a big result.
UCC and Pembroke have both recorded one win each from their three games thus far, making this tie at the Mardyke a well-matched one. Amy-Kate Trevor could meet her alma mater while UCC were without the influential Nicola Kerr last time out.
Looking at the fixture, Pembroke coach Keith Crawford is looking to get his side back on track.
“We’re obviously disappointed with our last couple of results but the nature of the competitions we play in is that there will be plenty of ups and downs as the season progresses.
“There are a couple of things we need to get right but we have confidence in the group that we will bounce back well.”
Ards welcome Railway Union – one of a trio of sides riding high with three wins from three – with the Ulster side keen to not let the gap to the leaders grow any further than the current five point gap.
Cork Harlequins will look to keep the pressure on Pegasus who have surprisingly yet to record a win to date this season. There are plenty of former international team mates meeting with Karen Bateman, Rachael Kohler, Suzanne Ferris and Pamela Glass all still lining out for their respective clubs.
Quins recorded their first win when Cliodhna Sargent and Emma Buckley made their seasonal debuts against Pembroke and will be key players.
Hermes meet Greenfields for the second time in seven days with the Booterstown likely to record another handy win having won 12-0 a week ago in the Irish Senior Cup.
In Leinster Division One, Muckross’s tie with Glenanne is one to watch in a key tie between the sides looking to make the promotion playoff places. The Glens, though, will be shy the services of Mary Waldron and Clare Shillington for the forseeable future due to Irish cricket commitments.
Loreto should continue their winning streak when they meet Genesis while Old Alex will look to make their experience tell against Avoca. Rathgar face Corinthian while North Kildare v Trinity in well-matched fixtures.
Women’s EY Hockey League (Saturday): Cork Harlequins v Pegasus, 1.30pm, Farmer’s Cross; Ards v Railway Union, 2.30pm, Ards LC; Hermes v Greenfields, 2.30pm, Booterstown; UCC v Pembroke, 3pm, Mardyke; UCD v Ulster Elks, 3.45pm, Belfield
Leinster Division One: Rathgar v Corinthian, 12.30pm, High School; Loreto v Genesis, 1.30pm, Beaufort; Muckross v Glenanne, 2pm, Muckross Park; North Kildare v Trinity, 2pm, The Maws; Avoca v Old Alex, 2.30pm, Newpark