Derby day for Railway and Pembroke in playoff pursuit

Derby day for Railway Union and Pembroke as the Dublin 4 rivals meet in an important tie in the women’s EYHL playoff race with both sides currently in the top four.

It comes a week after their men played the same fixture at Serpentine Avenue, serving up suitably battling fare and this tie should be ripe for plenty of drama.

Pembroke coach Keith Crawford is keen for his side to bounce back from a tough outing against Hermes a week ago, saying he was “disappointed not only with the result but with the performance” as well.

He believes his side can step up significantly and put it up to their illustrious neighbours and is relishing the challenge. Railway are currently second after their narrow 1-0 win over Pegasus with Emma Smyth showing her immense value to the team.

Railway's Emma Smyth's experience is vital in molding their team. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Railway’s Emma Smyth’s experience is vital in molding their team. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Her experience is vital for a team packed with young players who are steadily improving under a young coach, Colm Blennerhassett.

Hermes will be expected to extend their winning streak to nine when they travel to ninth place UCC. Anna O’Flanagan missed their tie with Pembroke a week ago but could return to add to their array of shooting options.

Cork Harlequins host Greenfields with a view to continuing their push for a top four spot. Ulster Elks host Pegasus in a significant derby with the former taking on a rare claim to being the favourites for this fixture.

But, speaking to the Belfast Telegraph this week, Suzanne Ferris says Pegasus are not a side to be written off.

“The Elks are a top side as their results have indicated,” she said. “But our objective remains the same – to achieve a top-three finish and there is still a lot of hockey to be played between now and the end of the season.”

Hannah Grieve is an injury doubt for them while Shirley McCay returns to the Elks side having missed their last two league games due to Ulster underage coaching commitments.

Sunday sees UCD play Ards, the game moved back 24 hours in order to allow for college exams.

In Leinster Division 1, a tough situation has emerged for a number of Muckross players with several players double-booked. Their fixture against Trinity at Santry Avenue at 12.30pm overlaps with the Mount Anville vs Alexandra College Senior Premier playoff game at 11.30am in Milltown.

With several players involved in both games, it makes for some tricky selection issues and a big test of the club’s resources in what is an important game in the battle for EYHL playoff places.

For Old Alex, a quintet of players could be called on to play twice in the day, following up the schools match with a trip to Tallaght to face Glenanne at 3.30pm, another important fixture.

Top plays bottom at Beaufort with Loreto looking to continue their perfect start to the campaign when they host Rathgar.

The Irish Hockey Trophy has plenty of Leinster interest in the quarter-finals with Avoca facing YMCA, Clontarf travelling to Limerick to play Catholic Institute while North Kildare host Bandon. Galway travel to Rainey in Co Derry in the indoor dome at Magherafelt.

Women’s EY Hockey League
UCC v Hermes, 2pm, The Mardyke; Cork Harlequins v Greenfields, 2.30pm, Farmer’s Cross; Pembroke Wanderers v Railway Union, 2.30pm, Serpentine Avenue; Ulster Elks v Pegasus, 2.30pm, Jordanstown
Sunday: UCD v Ards, 1.45pm, Belfield

Leinster Division One:
Trinity v Muckross, 12.30pm, Santry Avenue; Loreto v Rathgar, 2.30pm, Beaufort; Glenanne v Old Alex, 3.30pm, Glenanne Park

Irish Hockey Trophy, quarter-finals: Avoca v YMCA, 2.30pm, Newpark; Rainey v Galway, 2.30pm, Magherafelt; Catholic Institute v Clontarf, 1.30pm, Rosbrien; North Kildare v Bandon, 1.30pm, The Maws

Women's Leinster Senior Div 1