Siofra O’Brien’s early goal proved enough for Loreto to join Pegasus and UCD in the Irish Senior Cup semi-finals while Belfast Harlequins advanced to the quarters.
Against Loreto, Railway’s best chance came in the opening minutes when Alannah Carragher blocked a close-range flick chance with the rebound going wide.
From there, the Beaufort side had the better of the openings in an end-to-end tie between two well matched sides who drew both of their leagues this term.
Ali Meeke was a driving force throughout and she played a crucial role in the goal, showing some nice skills before setting up O’Brien for a tap in. Grace O’Flanagan made some key saves to limit the damage in the rest of the first half.
In the second half, Kate McKenna went wide with a great chance while Carragher made a couple of good saves but Loreto were not subject to sustained pressure and they very nearly made the game safe when Sarah Evans’ touch to a cross went just wide.
The insurance goal was not required, however, and Paul Fitzpatrick’s side were through to the final four.
UCD, meanwhile, overcame a scare as they were made to hustle by Ulster Premier League side Lurgan as the slower sand-based pitch and the absence of Leah McGuire through injury and Deirdre Duke, Sorcha Clarke and Katherine Egan for exams made for a close-run tie.
Emma Russell did return while Katie Mullan played after a nasty cut last week and sported several stitches. They fell behind very early on from a corner which Clodagh Cassin saved initially but Emma Lindsay cleaned up the rebound.
From there, UCD piled on the pressure and got level in the 20th minute when Ellen Curran’s shot was half-cleared and Jane O’Brien picked up the pieces.
It took until eight minutes from the end before Mullan affected a superb turnover in the D and Emma Russell applied a powerful finish. Sarah Robinson completed the win in the last few minutes from a corner rebound.
Belfast Harlequins finally made it through to the last eight when they got the better of Pembroke 2-1 thanks to goals from Jenna Watt and Abigail Edwards. They will play Cork Harlequins on March 25 in the last eight.
Indoors, Ards’ lack of match practice in 2018 – with just a one-day blitz to win in Ulster and then two games on the national stage – showed as they finished eighth in Prague at the EuroHockey Indoor Club Trophy. It means they will be relegated
Mossley completed the line-up for the Irish Hockey Trophy semi-finals with a shoot-out win over Cork C of I; NUIG are the first side into the Challenge final with a 3-0 win over NICS.
In the Irish Junior Cup, there were more shoot-outs with C of I getting the wins this time in Belfast with victory over Ulster Elks. It puts them into the semi-final. UCD wait in the final after they won a shoot-out at Loreto.
Railway will face C of I in the other semi-final on March 18 at Park Avenue.
Women’s Irish Senior Cup – quarter-finals: Lurgan 1 (E Lindsay) UCD 3 (J O’Brien, E Russell, S Robinson); Railway Union 0 Loreto 1 (S O’Brien)
Round 2: Belfast Harlequins 2 (J Watt, A Edwards) Pembroke Wanderers 1 (H O’Donnell)
Irish Hockey Trophy – quarter final: Mossley 1 Cork Church of Ireland 1 (A Roberts), Mossley won shoot-out 3-1
Irish Junior Cup, quarter-final: Ulster Elks 2 (K McFarland, J Hallen) Cork C of I 2 (A O’Mahony 2), C of I won shoot-out 4-3
Semi-final: Loreto 1 (R McCullough) UCD 1 (J O’Brien), UCD win shoot-out 3-1;
Irish Hockey Challenge, semi-final: NUIG 3 NICS 0