Women’s EY Hockey League round-up
Pegasus 0 UCD 1 (S Twomey)
Sara Twomey’s first goal of the season could prove one of their most important as she struck five minutes from time for UCD to beat Pegasus 1-0 at Queen’s, beating one of their nearest rivals to retain their four-point lead at the top.
It was a hard-fought ninth successive win in the league and their fourth clean sheet in a row, putting them clear having played both of their current nearest rivals twice already.
The students had more circle penetrations but neither team had a clear chance on goal in the first quarter. Clodagh Cassin was the slightly busier of the two keepers in the second with a couple of clearances while Shirley McCay’s driving runs – for a Pegasus side without Michelle Harvey on the day – down the middle left defenders in her wake but no goals accrued.
In the second half, great work from Abbie Russell and Twomey won the game’s first corner which saw a Katie Mullan drag saved by Sammy-Jo Greer and a Lena Tice rebound-shot cleared. McCay earned Pegasus’s first corner which UCD defended well as they did for another set-piece in the fourth quarter.
The Dubliners then forged a series of corners from a goalmouth scramble and, at the third attempt, Twomey to find the goal. With Mullan ubiquitous, UCD saw out the win. The result mathematically sees them into the EY Champions Trophy with five games to spare.
Note: Pegasus would like to put on record their thanks and appreciation to UCD’s Sarah Robinson for a lovely sporting gesture when Ruth Maguire suffered a nasty facial injury after she was accidentally struck in the third quarter of the game.
Realising her opponent was in obvious pain and distress, Sarah was quickly on the scene to administer preliminary treatment and comfort Ruth for several minutes on the pitch.Fortunately Ruth’s injury was not serous and she and her club would like to express their gratitude for Sarah’s unselfish intervention when she could easily have ignored the Pegasus player’s plight.
Belfast Harlequins 0 Railway Union 2 (K Lloyd, K Orr)
Railway Union continued their excellent form in 2018, moving into a share of third spot – albeit with an extra game played – with Pegasus as they continue their run of clean sheets to four in the EY Hockey League.
Kate Lloyd scored in the opening stages as Railway broke from defence and worked the ball up to the striker who was clean through on the left and she finished on her reverse into the bottom right corner.
Quins were threatening with Zoe Wilson always creating problems and Grace O’Flanagan made some good saves.
In the third quarter, Railway created some great chances but failed to put them away. The second goal came in the final quarter from a corner, won by Lloyd, with a drag flick from Kate Orr. Belfast Harlequins took their keeper off and Railway had two green cards at one stage, ensuring a few nervy moments but the Dubliners closed out the game well.
It was a win built on solid defence with Amy Elliott playing very well, playing a strong role in the first goal. It boosts their chances of securing a direct ticket to the playoffs but they do have a tough run-in with a game against UCD next and then two ties against Cork Harlequins.
Pembroke Wanderers 1 (S Quill) Loreto 1 (H Mulcahy)
Loreto finally made a series of penalty corners count in the closing minutes to earn Loreto a draw, denying Pembroke a crucial win in their bid to move clear of relegation trouble.
The Serpentine Avenue hosts had plenty of good early chances with Laura Noble, Jilly Ringwood and Emily Beatty denied by Alannah Carragher while Loreto had a number of corners.
Pembroke went in front on the half hour when Sara Quill netted a corner swept into the danger zone by Hayley McDonnell for a touch into the roof.
Loreto had the better of the third quarter with a few chances going wide and the Pembroke defence remaining strong. The Beaufort side switched to a kicking back in the closing six minutes and it paid dividends when they had a multitude of corners with Hayley Mulcahy eventually popping up with the equaliser.
The result means Loreto are in fifth at the end of the day’s action but now have seven points to make up on a potential Champions Trophy place. Pembroke are eighth but have seen their gap to Trinity reduced to one point.
Trinity 2 (E Noone, N Sweeney) Ards 0
Trinity picked up a hugely important second win of the season to move them five points clear of Hermes-Monkstown, giving them a big chance of avoiding the relegation playoff spot.
Ellie Noone gave them a very early lead when she managed to scoop into the net over Naomi McKnight from close range. The Dubliners created most of the promising chances in the early phases before Ards came into it in the second quarter with Carolyn Crampton making key saves from play and corners.
Jenny Long, Avril Dooley O’Carroll and Issy Delamer were also fantastic in the back line. The second goal came in the third quarter when Niamh Sweeney was passed a bouncing ball by Noone at the top of the D and fired home on the half-volley into the top of the net for a cracking goal.
Trinity stay in ninth place in the division but moves them within a point of eighth placed Pembroke who they will hope to overhaul to escape the relegation playoff match.
Cork Harlequins 1 (C Sargent) Hermes-Monkstown 0
Cliodhna Sargent’s 69th minute penalty corner strike saw Cork Harlequins snatch all three points and puts them within a point of following UCD into the EY Champions Trophy with plenty of games to spare.
With the play penned in the Monkstown half for the vast majority of the tie, Quins frustration was high as they could not break through a packed defence. Things got more fraught when goalkeeper Emma Buckley was sin-binned for some verbals. Quins decided to forego a padded keeper for the two-minutes and eventually forced their winner.
For bottom side Hermes-Monkstown, it was a tough outcome as they fought hard throughout the tie but the loss sees them fall five points off Trinity who occupy the relegation playoff place.