With three points covering first to ninth, the women’s EY Hockey League is very much in formation mode with plenty of movement likely over the course of the weekend.
Trinity and Cork Harlequins open the weekend at Santry Avenue with both looking to land their second win of the campaign. The students were relegated from the top level of the intervarsities on Monday but can welcome back Sally Campbell – who is a DIT student – to their line-up to give a strong presence.
Quins are on the road for the fourth time already this season, their third league road-trip in addition to an away date at Dungannon in the Irish Senior Cup. Rebecca Barry was back in firing on her return from injury with goals at Ards and in that cup tie while Cliodhna Sargent has made her return to training in the past week or so.
On Sunday, Pegasus and Loreto meet in a battle of two unbeaten sides. For the latter, Sarah Torrans and Hannah McLoughlin come back into the fold full of confidence following impressive first appearances for Ireland’s senior squad against Scotland and giving an inkling to the likes of Siofra O’Brien, Caitlin Sherin and Christina Hamill of what is possible in a short space of time.
Former Irish captain Alex Speers has been in red-hot form for Pegs with five goals in four games to her name with great support from Steph Thompson, Katie McKee and Rachel McMillan, giving them plenty of points of danger.
UCD continued their quick recovery from a rare league defeat on opening day with a fifth varsities success in six years to go with some big EYHL and cup win. The likes of Sarah Robinson, Leah Ewart, Anna Richardson and Bethany Barr all missed that competition which they won at a canter. Some of them will come back into the mix
Their next challenge is a trip to an improving Pembroke side who will formally open their new pitch at Serpentine Avenue on Sunday. Iseult Cambay and Katie Jane Marshall had fine interpro tournaments two weeks ago and add to a Pembroke side who had Aisling Naughton and Gillian Pinder in Irish action.
Railway Union will hope to finally get their first win of the campaign after three draws on the spin as they host Hermes-Monkstown, the last side waiting for their first points of the season.
At Deramore Park, Belfast Harlequins meet Ards in all-Ulster derby with a showdown between Zoe Wilson and livewire Chloe Brown could provide fireworks. Brown’s trickery has lit up Ards’ start to the season, recording a win and two draws. Quins have had just two games so far, edging out Hermes-Monkstown before succumbing to UCD.
In the Leinster league, Genesis and Our Lady’s brilliant starts to the season will be put to the test when they meet the fancied sides Old Alex and Muckross respectively.
Genesis, indeed, have yet to concede in four games but are facing one of the most prolific attacks in the division who will test their mettle. Our Lady’s have three wins from four and will hope to make things difficult for Muckross.
With a number of their rivals set to drop points, Corinthian will hope they can strengthen their place at the top when they face Clontarf who are waiting to land their first point.
Trinity, Monkstown, Corinthian, UCD and Old Alex all start their Irish Junior Cup campaigns on Saturday on a busy weekend.
EY Hockey League
Saturday: Trinity v Cork Harlequins, 1pm, Santry Avenue
Sunday: Belfast Harlequins v Ards, 2.30pm, Deramore Park; Pegasus v Loreto, 1.30pm, Queens University; Pembroke Wanderers v UCD, 4pm, Serpentine Avenue; Railway Union v Hermes-Monkstown, 2.40pm, Park Avenue
Leinster Division 1 (all Saturday): North Kildare v Glenanne, 12pm, The Maws; Corinthian v Clontarf, 12pm, Whitechurch Park; Our Ladys v Muckross, 2pm, Terenure; Avoca v Rathgar, 2.30pm, Newpark; Old Alex v Genesis, 3.15pm, Milltown
Munster Division 1 (all Saturday): Bandon v University College Cork, 2pm, Bandon GS; Catholic Institute v Cork Church of Ireland, 12pm, Rosbrien; Limerick v Ashton, 3pm, Villiers; Waterford v Belvedere, 12.30pm, Newtown School.
Irish Junior Cup, first round (all Saturday): Lisnagarvey v UCC, 2.30pm, Comber Road; Trinity v Belfast Harlequins, 3pm, Santry Avenue; Monkstown v Cork Harlequins, 3.30pm, Merrion Fleet Arena; Corinthian v UCD, 4pm, Whitechurch Park; Muckross v Banbridge, 3pm, Muckross Park; Old Alex v Queens, 1.30pm, Milltown