Hermes-Monkstown closed out their European challenge on a high as they beat Russia’s CSP Krylatskoye on a shoot-out to end seventh at the EuroHockey Club Champions Cup in s’Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands.
The victory, after a 4-4 draw in normal time, was enough to retain Ireland’s place in the top tier of European club competition for 2018.
Anna O’Flanagan gave the Dubliners a lead when she found a brilliant finish from the right of the circle in just the third minute for a 1-0 lead.
Krylatskoye, though, bounced back quickly with Bogdana Sadovaia levelling almost immediately and Alina Khalimova made it 2-1 in the second quarter from a corner rebound despite Liz Murphy’s excellent first up save.
Nikki Evans tied the game for a second time with another top finish, this time from the left of the circle over the goalkeeper, making it 2-2 at half-time.
Khalimova’s second of the game restored the Russian side’s lead only for Hermes-Monkstown to fight back once more. O’Flanagan cracked in a corner strike from a switch left for 3-3 and then, with 10 minutes to go, Sinead Loughran ended up firing home for the lead.
It came from a swift counter-attack and while Evans’ reverse-stick cross was intercepted, the clearance fell nicely for Loughran who picked out the backboard.
There was a nasty sting in the tail with 110 seconds to go as a loose free-out went straight to Iuliia Kazakova who intercepted and shot home for 4-4.
ButSuzie Kelly, O’Flanagan and a delicious Laura Pinder effort in the shoot-out, combined with a trio of Liz Murphy saves, earned Hermes-Monkstown the victory.
On Sunday, Hermes-Monkstown fell 4-1 to Spain’s Complutense – O’Flanagan on the mark – in the first phase of the 5th to 8th place playoffs.
In Munich, Pegasus finished sixth in the Euro trophy to Ukraine’s MSC Sumchanka after a 2-2 draw. After a spate of early corners, Taite Doherty scored a rebound to give the Ulster side a ninth minute lead.
Yuliia Shevchenko scored a classy equaliser two minutes later, a first time sweep from a direct ball to the left side of the circle. Viktoriya Stetsenko made it 2-1 as they forced Pegasus into an error in their own circle and she shot over Jessica Perry.
Alex Speers levelled the game with the only goal of the second half, guiding in Steph Quinn’s penalty corner sweep from the left edge. It meant a shoot-out which the Ukrainians took the initiative in round two, scoring both their efforts while Ruth Maguire was denied. When Michelle Harvey and Quinn were both also denied, it allowed Sumchanka to land the fifth place.
The overall picture saw Ireland’s ranking drop from fifth to sixth but this change in status will not have an impact on the allocation of places for the 2018 club events.
EuroHockey Club Champions Cup
7th/8th place playoff: Hermes-Monkstown 4 (A O’Flanagan 2, N Evans, S Loughran) CSP Krylatskoye 4 (A Khalimova 2, B Sadovaia, I Kazakova)
EuroHockey Club Champions Trophy
5th/6th place playoff: Pegasus 2 (T Doherty, A Speers) MSC Sumchanka 2, Sumchanka win 3-1 on shoot-out