Ards 2 (E Robinson, C Brown) Pembroke 1 (C Hill)
Ards continued their excellent recent run with a fourth successive win, Chloe Brown scoring in each of those ties, to see off Pembroke 2-1 who remain without a point this term. In a cagey start, Ards looked the more comfortable in possession, but Pembroke won the first corner after six minutes, but the attempt from a left slip-move was well cleared.
The hosts began to take control, though, as time wore on and, in the 23rd minute, Jane Kilpatrick took a quick free on the left side and fired a reverse stick cross which flew across the face of goal as a wraning shot. A minute later, Lucy McKee worked a reverse stick opening but fired high over the bar.
Ards then forced a series of three corners with a Brown effort being well saved before two consecutive drag flicks going just wide. They eventually broke the deadlock when Ellen Robinson stole from the Pembroke centre back, carrying into the circle and firing past the keeper for 1-0.
They continued the pressure into the second half and Brown doubled the lead from their second corner of the half five minutes in. She exchanged passes with Tamara Macleod at the top and Brown fired home on her reverse.
Pembroke fought back in the closing quarter in an attempt to get something from the game. Despite being a player down at the time, Pembroke broke quickly after a turnover and Caroline Hill scored to give the away team some hope with nine minutes to go.
Ards managed to create a couple of further penalty corners in the remainder of the half, but failed to convert. It was Pembroke who had the better possession, but were unable to create any clear chances against a hard working Ards defence to force an equaliser.
Cork Harlequins 1 (R Barry) UCD 1 (S O’Loughlin)
Cork Harlequins and UCD both ended up losing ground on leaders Hermes-Monkstown as the third and second placed sides, respectively, played out a high octane draw. UCD forced the first major chance after five minutes with a switch left seemingly destined for the roof of the net only for Emma Russell’s shot to come back off the underside of the crossbar.
The remainder of the quarter was an even affair with most of the play in the middle third of the pitch. Gillian Pinder showed well for UCD while Karen Bateman and Rachael Kohler kept play ticking over for the home side.
More of the same followed in a second quarter which saw limited goal mouth opportunities. UCD flashed a ball across the Quins goal which was unlucky not to be put in at the back post.
At the other end, Caoimhe Perdue won a penalty corner for the home side which they were unable to convert.
Both of the goals cames in the second half with Rebecca Barry breaking the deadlock in the 38th minute when she got on the end of a right-wing cross from Yvonne O’Byrne
Barry had a chance to make it 2-0 a few minutes later when she was left one on one versus the UCD keeper but Clodagh Cassin got to down to save well for the visitors. UCD came more into the game as the quarter went on, winning a number of penalty corners but they were well defended by the home side.
The fourth quarter saw the game move from end to end with Quins pushing for a second whilst UCD were trying to find an equaliser. The visitors made their breakthrough on the hour mark to set up an exciting last 10 minutes. A cross from the right wing lead to a goalmouth scramble which saw Sarah O’Loughlin sweep in at the back post.
Both sides pushed hard for the winner flooding players forward at every opportunity. Naomi Carroll saw an effort on her reverse flash over the bar whilst Lena Tice launched a number of good UCD attacks. Quins forced a corner in the last minute of the game but a Karen Bateman effort whistled past the post.
Hermes-Monkstown 5 (A O’Flanagan 3, N Evans, C Watkins) Ulster Elks 0
A seventh successive win for Hermes-Monkstown in the women’s EY Hockey League saw the Merrion Fleet Arena side dig out the first piece of major daylight between them and the chasing pack.
Their comfortable 5-0 win over Ulster Elks means they now have a four-point lead at the top of the table and well set for a return – even at this early stage – to the EY Champions Trophy.
They were always in control but took a long time to break down the Elks defence. Anna O’Flanagan put the hosts ahead in the 14th minute when set up nicely by captain Nikki Evans to give Rebecca Davidson no chance.
The first half was all about the Elks defence and, in particular, Davidson who was having a blinder. Elks did force two corners in the half but any danger was cleared, leaving the gap at the minimum,
Early in the third quarter, O’Flanagan extended the lead in the 40th minute with a top class finish and, five minutes later, she had her hat trick after lovely work by Ellen Curran to set her up.
Evans made it 4-0 thanks to a lovely team goal a minute later and Chloe Watkins converted a corner in the 46th minute to make it a quarter to forget for Elks. It proved the end of the scoring as Hermes-Monkstown eased to another strong victory.