The women’s EY Hockey League playoff race is likely to reach something of a denouement this weekend after months of twists and turns as they bid to join Hermes in the Champions Trophy.Railway Union will look to strengthen their hand significantly on Saturday when they meet Greenfields. The Sandymount side dropped out of the top three last Sunday after a 3-2 loss to Ulster Elks but they have arguably the easier run-in with Ards on April 9 and then Pembroke in their final match on April 16.
The multi-talented Niamh and Michelle Carey will be fully focussed after a hectic few weeks, helping their school Colaiste Iosagain to the ladies football All-Ireland schools final in recent times as well as racing in a few top level cross country races.
They have been important members of the Railway panel this term in a youthful side who probably need two wins from three from their remaining games.
Ulster Elks have the toughest remaining fixtures, playing Hermes on Saturday before completing their regular season on April 16 against Pegasus in what looks, even now, set to be a shoot-out for the final playoff place.
But, despite the task in front of them, the Elks are by a distance the form side in the division with five successive league wins on their record. They meet a Hermes side that have not being going at full octane since securing the league, earning just one point from their double weekend and have just one win in six games now.
Prior to the Elks’ battle, Pegasus must meet relegation playoff threatened UCC on Saturday at the Mardyke. The students have been scrambling of later with five points from the last nine available to cling on to Ards’ coat tails. Ards host Pembroke on Saturday, the Dublin side looking to build on their win over Hermes.
In Leinster Division 1, the playoff picture is also becoming clearer. Old Alex’s tie with Glenanne is a doozy with second place meeting third with one point between them; Trinity are a point back and meet fifth placed Muckross who also have an outside interest in the playoffs.
Women’s EY Hockey League
Saturday: UCC v Pegasus, 1pm, The Mardyke; Ards v Pembroke, 2.30pm, Londonderry Park; Cork Harlequins v UCD, 2.30pm, Farmer’s Cross; Railway Union v Greenfields, 1pm, Park Avenue; Ulster Elks v Hermes, 2.30pm, Jordanstown
Leinster Division 1 (Saturday): Muckross v Trinity College, 12pm, Muckross Park; Rathgar v Loreto, 12.30pm, The High School; Old Alex v Glenanne, 1.30pm, Milltown; Corinthian v North Kildare, 2.15pm, Whitechurch Park; Avoca v Genesis, 2.30pm, Newpark