Pegasus, Quins and UCD make the big moves

Women’s EY Hockey League – week nine reports
Saturday: Cork Harlequins 7 (Cliodhna Sargent 4, Olivia Roycroft, Rachael Kohler, Yvonne O’Byrne) Greenfields 0

Cliodhna Sargent’s quartet of goals saw Cork Harlequins move into the top three in the women’s EY Hockey League for the first time this season with their fifth win in the last seven games. They were too strong for Greenfields who have yet to record a point in the division this season.

Heavy rain at Farmer’s Cross made it difficult for either side to settle initially but Quins found the route to goal in the fifth minute from a penalty corner. Sargent’s first-up shot was mishit but fell to fellow Irish international Yvonne O’Byrne who turned the ball home.

A second followed in the second quarter as Miriam Crowley started to exert her influence. Sargent found herself on the edge of the 23m line and made no mistake with a forceful run into the circle before firing a shot low into the bottom corner for 2-0 at half-time.

Sargent got her second in the early stages of the second half when neat play from O’Byrne fall just in front of the goalkeeper and the Irish international stuck out a stick to deflect it home.

The rain continued and Greenfields defended well for large periods of the quarter but a well worked move started by Rachael Kohler found Olivia Roycroft on the penalty spot and she kept her nerve to round the keeper and score her sixth goal of the season.

Kohler added her first of the campaign in the closing quarter for number five, the former Irish captain slapping home after good work from Rachel Hobbs. Sargent completed her hat-trick with a fine solo goal before O’Byrne ran from the halfway line before laying the ball off for Sargent to strike for her fourth. Greenfields’ Sinead Collins did impress between the posts, again showing that she is one of the best keepers in the league but it was another tough outing for the Galway side.

Ulster Elks 1 (Gemma Frazer) Pegasus 2 (Suzanne Ferris, Vanessa Surgeoner)

Pegasus won the Ulster derby as a late exchange of penalty corner goal ultimately went their way with Vanessa Surgeoner scoring the winner that puts Pegasus within range of the third place Ulster Elks. It was a typically feisty local derby with plenty of battles through the field. Suzanne Ferris opened the scoring in brilliant fashion when she volleyed home a deflected cross in brilliant fashion, the ball looping into her path from the right wing.

From there, neither side could make many inroads in terms of scoring chances as the key players were mainly in defence in midfield. Steph Quinn was hailed by her coach, Arlene Boyles, for playing a hugely effective role in defence in place of the injured Hannah Grieve, snuffing out a lot of danger from the likes of South African international Erin Hunter who was making her debut.

The Elks got back on terms with seven minutes to go from a broken down corner that Shirley McCay quickly worked to Megan Frazer. Her cross-come-shot made its way back to captain Gemma Frazer who touch home at the left post.
But Pegasus won the tie three minutes later when Pegs won a corner for a foul outside the circle. It was initially saved but led to a reaward which Surgeoner finished off from mid-circle after her side cleverly passed the ball between the two Elks’ runners.

Speaking to the BBC afterwards, Pegasus coach Boyles said afterwards: “I thought at times we were outstanding. Kate McConnell in the middle of the park had a sublime game and Steph Quinn was simply brilliant. I thought we deserved our win.”

After a tough start to the campaign, Pegasus have now won four of their last five games to move within range of a playoff place.

Pembroke 0 Railway Union 0
Pembroke held Railway Union at bay to earn a point at Serpentine Avenue with Stella Davis having a fine game in the face of a heavy amount of work.

Railway coach Colm Blennerhassett, meanwhile, will rue a series of missed penalty corner chances that meant his side dropped a couple of points in their title pursuit.

Three first half corners were denied with Davis, Erika Hinkson and Sarah Clarke to the fore while the goalkeeper made some more good saves from play as Railway’s full press worked well but they could not finish off their openings.

There was respite of sorts when Emma Smyth took a yellow card in the third quarter while another Railway corner went a begging with Jilly Collins charging it down. Pembroke upped their work rate in the closing quarter and had their best chance when Maeve Ott went close but they will probably be the happier of the two with the draw.

Sunday: UCD 3 (Deirdre Duke 2, Katie Mullan) Ards 1 (Hannah Coey)

Deirdre Duke’s double saw UCD claim their fourth win of the campaign as they saw off Ards 3-1 in the second half of their tie in Belfield. She scored in the second minute of the tie when the impressive Aisling Naughton got to the baseline and set up her strike partner for a simple finish.

Ards replied in kind when they won a corner that Hannah Coey scored from in the second phase. And the Ulster side pushed on in the second quarter to pin the hosts back for decent portions of the game.

UCD, however, bossed the third quarter and got back in front from a Katie Mullan drag-flick. Duke made the game safe with Naughton again to the fore. She drove into the circle and picked out the Irish international for 3-1.

Ards, aided by a UCD sin-binning, pushed forward in the last quarter but found Mullan in excellent form to deny many attacks while Sarah Robinson made a key interception to keep out the lively Chloe Brown. Sara Twomey also made a big impact on her return from injury.

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