Loreto nick final Champs Trophy spot as Hermes-Monkstown go down fighting

Women’s EY Hockey League
Saturday: UCD 5 (K Mullan 2, S Clarke, S Young, L Tice) Hermes-Monkstown 1 (C McGilp)
Hermes-Monkstown’s tenure in the top flight of the women’s EY Hockey League came to an end as they succumbed to five final quarter goals against the recently crowned champions UCD.

The first half saw Town keeper Liz Murphy make some key stops as, like the first meeting between the sides, UCD struggled to break through early on. Hermes-Monkstown did win one corner but Hayley Sarratt’s drag was saved.

As such, it remained through the big break and into the final quarter before UCD finally found their scoring touch. Katie Mullan nailed a corner before Sarah Young spun to put in her first EYHL goal.

Caitriona McGilp gave Hermes-Monkstown some hope but it was quickly extinguished as Lena Tice replied from a corner for 3-1. Sorcha Clarke added another and then Mullan scored with the last act of the regular season from a corner for the fifth.

The result meant a 14th successive league win for UCD but for Hermes-Monkstown, it means relegation to the Leinster league for 2018/19.

Belfast Harlequins 0 Pembroke 1 (A Naughton)
Aisling Naughton’s fourth minute goal earned Pembroke the reassuring victory that meant they were confirmed in the women’s EY Hockey League for another season, guaranteeing they would be out of range of Trinity and Hermes-Monkstown in eighth place.

She got a deflection to a crash ball that proved the only goal of a day on which goalkeeper Iseult Cambay made numerous good saves. The first was from Abi Edwards from Jenna Watt’s ball in while they also hit the crossbar and had several penalty corners before the big break.

Pembroke had their moments on the break which Marianne Fox dealt with Quins continued to win set pieces but could not convert. It meant Pembroke were confirmed in eighth place while Quins finished a creditable sixth, three places better off than last term.

Cork Harlequins 2 (R Upton, R Barry) Railway Union 0
Cork Harlequins ensured Railway Union would have a nervous Saturday night ahead of them to see if they will remain in the EY Champions Trophy spots. After a scoreless first half, Quins went 1-0 up in the third quarter thanks to the returning Roisin Upton and Rebecca Barry made it two soon after.

Railway took off their goalkeeper for the whole of the final quarter and threw everything forward but found Emma Buckley in superb form to make a double save at point blank range to stay out of range.

Pegasus 5 (T Doherty 2, A Speers 2, M Harvey) Ards 1 (F Brown)
Pegasus produced a confident performance in their third game of the week, beating Ulster rivals Ards 5-1 at Queen’s. Taite Doherty set the tone with two goals in the opening eight minutes before Michelle Harvey extended the advantage out to three at the half-time whistle.

Lovely one-touch hockey from front to back led to Alex Speers getting the final touch for the fourth in the 41st minute. The former Irish captain got her second in the closing quarter to make it five before Francesca Brown got one back with three minutes to go. Pegasus will finish in third place while Ards are seventh.

Trinity 0 Loreto 6 (S Evans 2, S Torrans, H McLoughlin, N Daly, H Mulcahy)
Loreto gave their chances of breaking into the top four a big boost when they swept to a 6-0 win over Trinity, condemning the students to a relegation playoff game next Sunday.

Sarah Torrans gave the Beaufort club the perfect start before Sarah Evans got the first of her two goals in the second quarter. Hannah McLoughlin grabbed the third after half-time with Evans and Nicci Daly netting in quick succession for a 5-0 advantage. Hayley Mulcahy completed the route, leaving Loreto needing a draw or better when they faced Pegasus on Sunday if they were to break into the top four.

Sunday: Loreto 1 (N Daly) Pegasus 1 (C Harvey)
Loreto got the point they needed to move ahead of Railway Union into fourth place and into the Champions Trophy next weekend, earning a shot at UCD. Nicci Daly got on the end of a cracking assist from Sarah Torrans to open the scoring just a couple of minutes into the game.

It stayed that way until 15 minutes into the second half when Caitlyn Harvey levelled matters, ensuring a nervous closing quarter for the Beaufort side but they battled for every ball to get the result and an extra weekend to the season with their seventh game unbeaten in the league.

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