Hermes nine from nine to lead by nine in women’s EYHL; UCD and Pegasus on the rise

Women’s EY Hockey League – day 10 round-up
Hermes 2 (Naomi Carroll, Sally Campbell) Railway Union 1 (Kate McKenna)

Hermes came from a goal down to record their ninth successive women’s EY Hockey League victory, doing the double over their nearest rivals Railway Union.

The win extends their lead over the pack to a massive nine points with a game in hand over the Christmas break. Hermes started well but found Railway keeper Grace O’Flanagan a formidable foe in the early stages to keep the score sheet blank in the first half.

Naomi Carroll scored a vital goal against Railway. Pic: Deryck Vincent

Naomi Carroll scored a vital goal against Railway. Pic: Deryck Vincent

The game came to life in the third quarter when Railway took the lead following a great break down the right between Julia O’Halloran and Zara Delany to set up Kate McKenna. The lead was short-lived with Naomi Carroll scoring from Hermes’ fifth penalty corner, following up a Sarah Greene shot on goal.

Four minutes later, Sally Campbell scored the winner from another penalty corner rebound, firing home from close range. Railway tried to push on in the final quarter but found themselves susceptible to counter-attacks and required O’Flanagan to make a few more saves. A couple of late corners gave Railway chances to level but Hermes held on for a hard fought win.

UCC 3 (Clodagh Moloney, Antonia McGrath, Claire O’Sullivan) Cork Harlequins 1 (Yvonne O’Byrne)

UCC recorded a rare win over city rivals Cork Harlequins to close the gap on eighth-placed Ards and aid their chances of escaping from a potential relegation prospect.

In rough weather conditions, Clodagh Moloney got the only goal of the first half from a corner won by Holly Lehane. It was part of a fine overall performance from Moloney in defence, working in tandem with Emma Barber.

Harlequins had plenty of pressure with six penalty corners going awry before the big break. Former Quins player Antonia McGrath scored from another UCC corner while Yvonne O’Byrne was on the mark for Quins to progress the score to 2-1 at the end of the third quarter.

Claire O’Sullivan –another former Quins player – made the game safe for the students in the closing period, stretching the lead out to 3-1. Quins did pile on the pressure but UCC defended with a real relish to keep out all attacks.

Quins drop to fifth after the day’s play while UCC remain ninth but within reach of Ards.

Greenfields 0 Pegasus 3 (Katie Morris, Hannah McMillan, Alex Speers)
Pegasus continued their excellent run of form as they moved up to third place in the table, a fine turnaround having earned just one point from their opening four games.

This win in Dangan was based on a strong first quarter with Katie Morris and Hannah McMillan both scoring from penalty corners in the opening six minutes. They created a few more chances which Sinead Collins did brilliantly to keep out and steady Greenfields with Brenda Flannery building from the back.

The second quarter was a more even affair with play swinging from end to end with Alex Speers testing the Galway side’s defence. The hosts had a couple of good attacks with Rebecca Gilligan and Kate Hennessy making waves. Most of the third quarter was played between the 23s with both defences on top.

Siobhan Divilly was the driving force for Greenfields but Pegasus dealt with the home team’s attacks. Pegasus almost got a controversial third goal at the start of the fourth quarter when they took tip off while the Galway side were still in a huddle with the quick reactions of Hennessy, with a spectacular dive, saving on otherwise open goal.

Clodagh Moloney played a key role for UCC. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Clodagh Moloney played a key role for UCC. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Pegasus piled forward in the closing quarter and got their third goal in the 50th minute when Alex Speers scored a corner rebound after an initial Collins save.

While they fell 3-0, this represented Greenfields’ best performance to date in the competition. They sit bottom with no points to date while Pegasus are up to third.

UCD 2 (Deirdre Duke 2) Pembroke 0
Deirdre Duke’s double saw UCD rise to fourth place in the Christmas standings with a smart 2-0 win over near neighbours Pembroke and, should they win their game in hand in the New Year, leaves them in reach of a possible second place.

Early in the second quarter, Duke battled with a pair of defenders before winning a free. She took it herself and managed to get into the circle unopposed before applying a clever dummy-shot that the anticipated would go across goal but managed to sneak in at the near post past Stella Davis.

Pembroke did have a couple of half chances and a corner shot to equalise before half-time but nothing stuck, leaving it 1-0 at the break.

The second half, though, was more strongly in favour of the Belfielders, creating lots of space down the right flank with Davis called on to make some serious saves against her former club. The picked of them came from an Aisling Naughton shot destined for the top corner but the international goalie tipped it over the bar.

The pressure eventually told when Naughton drove around the back defence to the baseline and put the ball across for Duke to score her second. The victory left coach Miles Warren content with his developing side’s efforts after a tricky start to the campaign.

Pembroke, meanwhile, sit in seventh place overall after ten rounds of matches.

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