Corinthian and Trinity prevailed from their respective Jacqui Potter Shield semi-finals on a weekend packed with incident across a series of cups as well as the Leinster women’s Division One.
Trinity progressed their chances of a league and Jacqui Potter Shield double with another pair of clean sheets. Their 2-0 league win on Saturday against North Kildare puts them within one win of the Leinster Division One title as Ellie Noone and Niamh Sweeney scored the goals.
Sweeney was on the mark again a day later in a 1-0 win over Muckross in the Shield semi-final, putting them through to a big day out on St Patrick’s Day.
They will meet Corinthian in the final. They beat Monkstown II in the final four on penalty strokes after normal time had ended 2-2. Jessica and Lauren McGrane got the reds goals while Courtney Watkins netted twice for Town.
In the shoot-out, Corinthian nailed all five of their penalties via Caoimhe Proud-Murphy, Sophie Blennerhassett, Sophie Maleady, Lauren McGrane and Jessica McGrane to advance 5-3.
The win backed up their league win on Saturday against Our Lady’s to lift the reds up to fifth place in the Leinster table.
Elsewhere, the big league result was Avoca’s 2-0 win over Old Alex as underage representative players Julie Ringrose and Siofra O’Brien score the goals.
That result offers Glenanne a chink of light in their bid to catch Alex and push for third place. They have eight points to make up – with a game in hand – after a 3-0 win over Rathgar with Niamh Ward, Kate O’Connor and Hannah Morrin running up the scores.
Muckross moved clear of Alex with a 5-3 win against Genesis with Sophie Barnwell adding three more goals to her season tally.
In the Irish Junior Cup, it will be an all-Leinster affair in the decider in March, writes John Flack. Railway Union II comfortably booked themselves a place in the final with a 3-1 win over their Lisnagarvey counterparts at Comber Road on Sunday.
Their win sets up an all-Leinster decider after Pembroke II defeated Queen’s II 2-1 at Upper Malone 24 hours earlier. Railway, who were able to field several players with EYHL experience, most notably former Ireland player, Kate Dillon, were in control for most of the 70 minutes against a largely youthful Garvey side.
Ruth Clifford gave Railway the lead in the 10th minute when she converted the first penalty-corner of the game. However, from their first attack of note 12 minutes later, Garvey equalised when, after a quick free, Alyssa Jebb found Shannon Atkinson, who hammered the ball home from the top of the D.
Dillon made it 2-1 six minutes after the restart when she cut in from the left and fired the ball into the far corner of the net.
Garvey occasionally looked threatening on the break but Railway made the game safe when Sarah McDonald was on hand to convert a penalty-corner rebound with six minutes remaining.
Saturday’s game at Queen’s playing fields in Belfast was an absolute cracker between two evenly-matched sides although Pembroke had the better of the first-half.
The holders made a nervous start and the visitors looked more threatening, forcing several early penalty-corners. They took the lead from their fourth set-piece in the 26th minute from a superbly-worked move, Emma Kielty switching the ball to Sharon Carey, who swept home at the far post.
Queen’s gradually began to settle and Pembroke goalie Hannah Mangan had to be alert to deny Kathryn Bryans and Kerry McIlwaine.
But the students were hit by a sucker-punch seconds before half-time and, once again, it was an excellent penalty-corner routine that did the damage, Sarah Daly applying the finish from mid-circle.
Shona Doyle could have made it 3-0 early in the second-half but Queen’s keeper Leah crooks averted the danger from another set-piece.
With 15 minutes to go, Queen’s improved display was rewarded when McIlwaine cracked in a penalty-corner to give her team fresh hope.
The hosts forced a barrage of corners, forcing Mangan into a couple of smart saves, notably from the impressive Queen’s captain Bryans and Cathy Graham.
Then with seconds remaining and the final whistle about to sound Queen’s had one last chance from a set-piece as they pushed everyone forward having earlier withdrawn their goalie.
But after a slight mistrap, Pembroke were able to clear the ball to safety as they held on for a deserved victory and, ultimately, a D4 derby date with Railway in the final.
Women’s Leinster Division One: Muckross 5 (S Barnwell 3, K Fitzgerald, R Cuddy) Genesis 3 (S Collins, L Barrie, W Cullen); Our Lady’s 1 (C Scallan) Corinthian 2 (A Kinlan, J McGrane); Rathgar 0 Glenanne 3 (N Ward, K O’Connor, H Morrin); Trinity 2 (N Sweeney, E Noone) North Kildare 0; Avoca 2 (J Ringrose, S O’Brien) Old Alex 0
Jacqui Potter Shield, semi-finals: Dublin University 1 (N Sweeney) Muckross 0; Corinthian 2 (L McGrane, J McGrane) Monkstown II 2 (C Watkins 2), Corinthian won 5-3 on strokes
Irish Junior Cup, semi-finals
Saturday: Queen’s 1 (K McIlwaine) Pembroke 2 (S Carey, S Daly)
Sunday: Lisnagarvey 1 (S Atkinson) Railway Union 3 (K Dillon, R Hutchinson, S McDonald)
Irish Hockey Trophy, semi-final: Galway 1 (F Timmins) Rainey 1 (R Burns), Galway won in a shoot-out
Irish Hockey Challenge, semi-finals: Wexford 1 (M McCarthy) Botanic 0; Belvedere 1 Greenfields 0