Trinity’s ladies are now fully focused on landing an EY Hockey League berth following their run to the Leinster league title that bore silverware last Saturday afternoon.
A year ago, the Santry Avenue side finished third but did not take up their place in the promotion playoffs due to exam pressures. This time around, coach Brian Scully made it one of the stipulations of him taking up the reins that the side would contest the playoffs and they are now going full-force into that phase.
“Winning the league is such a huge achievement for the club and something we’re so proud of,” said co-captain Niamh Sweeney. “Our focus now turns to the EY playoffs and we’re hoping we can bring the same intensity and success to these games to gain promotion as it was our ultimate goal at the beginning of the season.”
Her fellow co-captain Jenny Long added: “It’s a phenomenal achievement to have won Division 1, such an amazing group of girls-I’m really excited for the next six weeks.”
They got over the line with a 2-0 win over Rathgar. Trinity started well showing their dominance from early on. The intensity was high from the outset and within the first five minutes, they took the lead via a phenomenal Sweeney reverse-stick effort.
They continued to apply the pressure and were unlucky not to convert some great chances from Louise McCollum and Long. The Rathgar defence, led by Lia McCann, were doing well to keep Trinity at bay, going into half time at 1-0.
Trinity started the second half looking for an extra cushion for their lead, all but throwing the kitchen sink at Rathgar who held fast. Anna Boland controlled the game from the back and, in the last minute, Long sisters Jenny and Ailish Long combined, the latter scoring the second.
They now have one league game left on March 25 before facing up to the promotion playoffs finals weekend on April 22 and 23.
Old Alex, meanwhile, got the result they needed on Saturday to claim the third and final EYHL promotion playoff place – along with Muckross – with a 3-2 win over Glenanne who started the weekend with an outside chance of ousting them.
The Glens burst out of the gates and dominated the first half of the game. A wonderfully taken rebound by Hannah Delaney gave the Tallaght side their first goal. This was quickly followed by a well placed strike from Kate O’Connor following a short corner breakdown.
Alex had barely had a sniff in the first half but they fought back brilliantly in the second half. The first showed grit and determination with Sylvia O’Mahoney forcing the ball over the line for a lifeline.
They got back on level terms from a Fiona Bradish corner strike, setting up a thrilling final 10 minutes with lots of chances. Alex got the rub of the green, however, when a short corner deflection from Aleisha Barton sailed into the top of the net 60 seconds from the end.
On Sunday, Glenanne did bounce back with a 2-1 win over North Kildare. Ashling Boyle spun and shot home from a corner for the opening goal, her first since joining from Our Lady’s earlier in the season.
In a second half downpour, the Glens went 2-0 ahead through O’Connor at the top of the circle. She fainted to go right but then quickly spun to get a rocket of a shot away which found the backboard.
North Kildare pulled one back late on. The ball fell to Sophie Edgehill at the top who got a bobbling shot away which found Seana Carty at the back post. Carty guided home but Glenanne won out to move back into fourth place ahead of North Kildare who had jumped ahead of the Tallaght side due to Saturday’s 2-1 win over Our Lady’s.
Genesis beat Avoca 1-0 in their derby with Siobhan Kane scoring the goal while Muckross beat Corinthian 3-2.
The Leinster league comes to a close on March 25 with only the jockeying for mid-table positions remaining up for decision.
Leinster Division One
Saturday: North Kildare 2 (R Neary, R Carr) Our Lady’s 1 (E Kilbride); Glenanne 2 (H Delaney, K O’Connor) Old Alex 3 (A Barton, S O’Mahoney, F Bradish); Avoca 0 Genesis 1 (S Kane); Corinthian 2 (L McGrane, A Kinlan) Muckross 3 (S Barnwell, N Twomey, N Gowing); Trinity 2 (N Sweeney, A Long) Rathgar 0
Sunday: Glenanne 2 (A Boyle, K O’Connor) North Kildare 1 (S Carty)