Chloe Brown produced a masterclass for Ards as they claimed a seventh successive National Indoor Trophy crown at St Columba’s, winning their decider 5-2.
She played a key part in each of her side’s five goals as the Ulster club showed the extra bit of flair to unlock the Railway Union defence. Brown burst forward from midfield before slipping a pass to Amy Benson to, first-time, lay on for a simple Kerri McDonald tip in.
Anna-May Whelan equalised from a clever under the arm pass from Kate McKenna for 1-1 at half-time. Whelan’s great run then led to their second with Kate Dillon providing an early finish.
Brown equalised from a corner and then made it 3-2 with an excellent step off her left foot to round the last defender on her right and flicked home.
At left-back, Brown then launched a long ball all the way along the boards to Benson who swept home the fourth Ards goal. Naomi McKnight tipped away a Dillon stroke to keep that two-goal gap in tact.
Brown crowned the win when she picked up the ball on the edge of her own circle, danced in between two flat sticks and then ran on to win a corner which she converted, copper-fastening a return trip to Europe in 2019.
Elsewhere, in Leinster Division One the three main contenders all scored victories without conceding. Alanah Quinsey’s single goal earned Corinthian a 1-0 win over Glenanne to remain in third place, three points off top spot.
Leaders Old Alex had too much in the tank for bottom side Clontarf with Anna Roopnarinesingh scoring twice in a 4-0 win. Muckross beat Rathgar 9-0.
Those three are becoming ever more secure in the playoff places with 11 points between third and fourth where Our Lady’s will look to trim the gap a little on Tuesday against Avoca.
Genesis and North Kildare’s 1-1 draw meant that neither of them could make inroads to the sides above them, sitting in mid-table in fifth and sixth, respectively.
The last eight of the Irish Hockey Trophy was completed. Bray won a shoot-out against Avoca to outdo higher tier opposition, setting up a date with fellow Leinster Division 2 side Three Rock Rovers.
They fell behind early against Waterford but Angharad Griffiths and Steph Lyon turned it around before Stephanie Haughton got a late insurance goal.
YMCA bowed out at the hands of holders Bandon in a close-run 2-1 result while Belvedere were another Munster side to go through with a shoot-out win over Omagh.
Bandon will most Ballymena while Belvedere go to Catholic Institute. Mossley’s 3-0 win over Greenfields earns them a home date against Cork C of I.
Women’s National Indoor Trophy
Semi-finals: Ards 7 Glenanne 1; Railway Union 6 Galway 0
Final: Ards 5 (C Brown 3, K McDonald, A Benson) Railway Union 2 (A-M Whelan, K Dillon)
Leinster Division One: Genesis 1 (J Henry) North Kildare 1 (A Griffen); Old Alex 4 (A Roopnarinesingh 2, S O’Mahoney, L Jacob) Clontarf 0; Glenanne 0 Corinthian 1 (A Quinsey); Muckross 9 (Y Pratt 3, C Mathews 2, J Fennelly 2, J Gilsenan, A Flynn) Rathgar 0
Irish Hockey Trophy, round 2: Belvedere 1 (K O’Halloran) Omagh 1, Belvedere win shoot-out 4-3; Bray 1 (M Shelley) Avoca 1 (L Halpin-Doyle), Bray win shoot-out 3-2; Three Rock Ladies 3 (S Lyon, A Griffiths, S Haughton) Waterford 1 (E Breen); YMCA 1 (L Power) Bandon 2 (J Buttimer, A Buttimer); Ballymena 4 (K Young 2, R Reynolds, K Gillespie) Portadown 0; Greenfields 0 Mossley 3
Munster Senior Cup, first round: Catholic Institute 2 (K Daly, C O’Shea) UCC 1 (A Collins)