Women’s EY Hockey League promotion/relegation playoff
Belfast Harlequins 4 (C Weir 2, J Watt, L Geddes) UCC 1 (C Moloney)
Belfast Harlequins produced a superb all-round performance against a depleted UCC to claim the final place in next season’ EY Hockey League, running out 4-1 winners at Havelock Park in their playoff tie.
Quins took an early lead when Claire Weir popped home at the near post in the 12th minute and she nabbed a second soon after. Lucy Geddes had the chance to put the game almost out of sight with barely 20 minutes gone but she contrived to shoot wide with the goal at her mercy.
It opened the door for UCC – who arrived with only 13 players as a number of players were unavailable due to exam concerns – who struck back from their first corner when Clodagh Moloney’s straight hit struck the backboard. Quins, though, replied in kind with Jenna Watt finishing off for 3-1 at half-time.
With their top tier life on the line, Quins piled forward in the second half and won a string of penalty corners but found no way past the defences of Quins’ stand-in goalkeeper Marianne Fox who made a series of good saves.
And Quins killed off the game with 10 minutes left when Watt broke down the left baseline and squared for Geddes to get her goal from close range.
The result means Quins will take UCC’s place in the top tier next season, promoted alongside Loreto while UCC and Greenfields go down.