Magnificent eighth win for Hermes; Railway and Quins moving on up as Desmond strikes

Women’s EY Hockey League – day eight reports
Hermes 5 (Naomi Carroll 2, Eimear Horan, Chloe Watkins, Sinead Loughran) Pembroke 1 (Alice Ward)

Hermes imperious form at the top of the women’s EY Hockey League continued as they won their eighth successive match of the new competition with plenty to spare in Booterstown.

Indeed, they 2-0 up inside the first quarter, laying the base for another impressive victory. It took them six minutes to get up and running as Chloe Watkins weaved her way through the Pembroke defence before her shot was steered home from a well placed Sinead Loughran. It was Loughran’s first game of the campaign since returning from the US.

Hermes Sinead Loughran scored on her return to Ireland. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Hermes Sinead Loughran scored on her return to Ireland. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Eight minutes later, Watkins picked out Naomi Carroll who turned and shot past Stella Davis. They continued the pressure into the second quarter where Caitriona McGilp’s cracking shot hit the post before Eimear Horan extended the lead to 3-0. She eliminated three players before pinging a shot past Davis.

Pembroke enjoyed their best spell in the third quarter and got one back via Alice Ward in the 45th minute but Hermes pulled away in the closing phases. Watkins dragged home a penalty corner before Nikki Evans provided some excellent build-up play and then off-loaded for Carroll to finish off.

Railway Union 1 (Nina Heisterkamp) Pegasus 0
Nina Heisterkamp’s ninth minute goal was all that stood between Railway Union and Pegasus at Park Avenue, moving the Sandymount side into second place on their own.

After early threats from Emma Smyth and Niamh Carey, the hosts took the lead when the former drove out of defence and played a defence splitting pass to Heisterkamp who rounded Sammy Jo Greer to score.

Pegasus recovered the initial setback with threats of their own, notably from former Railway player Alex Speers, but no one could get on the end of a couple of dangerous crosses.

The Ulster side did suffer a loss when key defender Hannah Grieve had to leave the pitch injured in the second quarter but they still managed to draw a couple of fine stops from Grace O’Flanagan from Speers and McConnell.

The second half grew more niggly with both sides incurring sin-binnings and Pegasus again created the best of the chances with Suzanne Ferris the next to be denied by O’Flanagan.

Into the final quarter, it was Greer’s turn to provide some heroics from two huge Railway chances that the goalkeeper managed to keep out. Pegasus countered with Smyth making some vital clearances before O’Flanagan made a telling intervention at the death to keep the home spectators happy with a 1-0 win.

Railway sit second, seven points off top spot, while Pegasus drop to sixth place as an away win continues to elude them.

Ards 0 Cork Harlequins 2 (Rachel Hobbs, Olivia Roycroft)
Cork Harlequins returned to the top half of the division as a goal in the first and last quarter earned them a 2-0 win at Ards who remain in eighth place in the standings.

Ards, though, will regret not making better use of a strong start that saw them win a quartet of penalty corners inside the first nine minutes while Chloe Brown going closest with the best of the chances.

After that initial spurt, Harlequins countered against the run of play with a quick counter-attack which led to a free in the 23m zone. It was worked into the circle for Rachel Hobbs to make it 1-0.

A fifth corner came and went for Ards almost immediately while another followed in a more even second quarter but Quins retained their narrow advantage until the big break.

The third quarter was similarly cagey and tight with Ards edging possession and territory but neither side created too much of note. Becky Weir did squeeze a shot at goal but it came back off the inside of the post before being cleared.

And so it remained until three minutes from the final whistle when Olivia Roycroft sealed the win for the visitors when she fired home a drag-flick, her fifth goal of the season.

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