Ards bounce back out of relegation playoff place; Pembroke into fourth; Hermes keep on winning

Women’s EYHL
Wednesday: Ards 2 (Naomi Grundie, Sara Alexander) Ulster Elks 0

Ards jumped back out of the relegation playoff position with a 2-0 win over Ulster Elks, continuing the students tough run that has seen them lose four consecutive ties in the women’s EYHL.

The Elks came out of the blocks fast, winning a corner in the first minute but Shirley McCay’s effort was ruled as being too high. In the third minute, a slip by an Elks defender gave the ball to Chloe Brown, who rounded the keeper, but could not get enough power on the finish to get past the recovering Elks defence. Amy Benson was inches away from opening the scoring when she struck the left post before Tamara MacLeod’s follow-up hit the right post.

The second quarter was a more even affair, with Ards coming closest with a Brown effort while Ards were unable to take advantage of a green card for Elks defender Anna Kozniuk after 28 minutes. But Ards won the tie in the third quarter with goals from Naomi Grundie and Sara Alexander. The deadlock was broken in the 40th minute with a corner deflection from Naomi Grundie.

The second goal came just a minute before the break when MacLeod took a quick free just outside the Elks’ circle. She threaded a pass through to Alexander who slotted the ball into the net for 2-0.

Ards continued to set the pace, winning three further corners without reward in the fourth quarter. They thought they had extended the lead with nine minutes to go as Rachel Barton claimed a touch to a corner move but the goal was chalked off. It was not required, though, as they closed out the win.

Pembroke celebrate Rachel Scott's opening goal. Pic: Alwyn Robinson (click for more pictures)

Pembroke celebrate Rachel Scott’s opening goal. Pic: Alwyn Robinson (click for more pictures)

Saturday: Pembroke 2 (Rachel Scott, Eanna Horan) Greenfields 0

Pembroke rose to fourth in the table from their tie brought forward from March 6 as Greenfields’ wait for a first point continues. The Dubliners hit the front in the 10th minute from a direct attack down the middle which led to a goal-mouth scramble which Rachel Scott eventually put away.

Pembroke continued to dominate into the second half and had a few good chances but they were all saved by Sinead Collins in the Greenfields goal.

They had a number of penalty corners in the third quarter but none were converted, keeping the tie in the balance until late in the tie. It eventually paid off in the 59th minute when a great run by Jill Collins who passed the ball to Eanna Horan who finished off.

Sunday: UCC 0 Hermes 3 (Anna O’Flanagan, Chloe Watkins, Nikki Evans)
Hermes extended their lead at the top of the women’s EYHL to a massive 12 points with a 3-0 win at the Mardyke with their 11th straight win in the competition. It means they need 10 points from the remaining 21 on offer to claim the first European spot on offer.

UCC fronted up well in the first quarter but, after a scoreless first 15 minutes, Hermes broke clear in the second period. Nikki Evans made it three goals for the weekend when she cut loose and her reverse-stick shot from the top made it 1-0.

A set-piece corner between Anna O’Flanagan and Chloe Watkins saw the latter slot home from around the penalty spot for the second goal. And the result was sealed in the closing quarter as Anna O’Flanagan, returning to the field after a card, brust through the vacant centre – captain Nicola Kerr was binned for dissent on the UCC sideline – and slipped past the goalkeeper to seal the win.

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