Ards to test their top four credentials at UCD

With snow and frost abounding, it looks set for a potentially curtailed schedule across the women’s EYHL, Leinster Division One and Irish Hockey Trophy competitions with a number already postponed.

Should the games get the go-ahead, UCD will put Ards’ long-term top-four credentials to the test at Belfield – one of the usually best placed venues to beat the big freeze.

Ards’ Naomi Grundie in action against UCD’s Deirdre Duke. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Ards’ defence has been superb to date, conceding just six times, keeping things very tight and compact. Such an approach will be required to stymie the speed – particularly on the counter – of Miles Warren’s side.

At the bottom, Hermes-Monkstown have a pivotal weekend with two games against their nearest rivals in the battle to avoid the bottom rung. Getting on the scoreboard will be crucial as they wait for their first goals since the opening day of the campaign while injury to Sinead Loughran has been felt.

Trinity visit the Merrion Fleet Arena on Saturday evening off the back of a recently productive start to the campaign with five points to their name since promotion.

On Sunday, ninth plays tenth as Pembroke are down to host Monkstown. Pembroke have yet to see Emily Beatty in action while Gillian Pinder has also been out, a frustration that such high-quality additions have not been able to play a full role since their eye-catching summer moves.

Pembroke’s weekend starts with a derby game against Railway Union, a side they managed to take crucial points off last season.

Cork Harlequins have their seventh away game of the league on the card at Loreto – a venue prone to freezing – with their unbeaten record on the line. The Beaufort club have been inconsistent this season, mixing a heavy defeat to Pegasus to a hard won 1-0 win over Ards last time around.

Pegasus’ game with Belfast Harlequins is more than likely off the agenda due to the prevailing weather conditions in Ulster.

In Leinster, there are three Division One ties playing wait and see, hoping for thawed surfaces overnight. There are some some good tests on the list with unbeaten Corinthian hosting an Our Lady’s side who have had a great campaign to date to sit in the top four.

Leaders Old Alex host a North Kildare side that have conceded just once in five games, making it a potentially really tough outing. Glenanne, meanwhile, have two wins from three and will hope they can continue to build their form when they meet Muckross.

High School is closed for business so Rathgar’s game with Clontarf is cancelled.

At least one Irish Hockey Trophy tie will go ahead with Catholic Institute already in Magherafelt, despite heavy snow, to play Rainey at the fully indoor pitch at the Meadowbank Sports Arena.

Three games are already confirmed as off while four more will wait and see what the night brings to see if their games go ahead.

Women’s fixtures (Saturday unless stated)
EY Hockey League
Saturday: Loreto v Cork Harlequins, 1.15pm, Beaufort; Monkstown v Trinity, 4.15pm, Merrion Fleet Arena; Pegasus v Belfast Harlequins, 4pm, Queens; Pembroke Wanderers v Railway Union, 4pm, Serpentine Avenue; UCD v Ards, 2.50pm, Belfield
Sunday: Pembroke v Monkstown, 2.45pm, Serpentine Avenue

Leinster Division One: Corinthian v Our Ladys, 1pm, Whitechurch Park; Old Alex v North Kildare, 1.30pm, Milltown; Glenanne v Muckross, 3pm, Glenanne Park
Postponed: Rathgar v Clontarf

Irish Hockey Trophy, second round
Saturday: Bray v Avoca, 1.30pm, Loreto Bray; Cork C of I v Galway, 2pm, Garryduff; YMCA v Bandon, 1.45pm, Wesley College; Rainey v Catholic Institute, 2.30pm, Meadowbank Arena
Sunday: Greenfields v Mossley, 1pm, Dangan
Postponed: Belvedere v Omagh; Ballymena v Portadown; Three Rock Ladies v Waterford

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