UCD can potentially add the EY Hockey League title on Sunday to the Irish Senior Cup title won last Sunday following a 4-0 midweek win over Pembroke.
Katie Mullan’s first half double came in addition to goals from Lena Tice and Abbie Russell saw them well clear – indeed, they missed a stroke before the break – and within sight of the winning line.
It extends their league lead to seven points with two of their last three games coming against bottom side Hermes-Monkstown. Last term, they won the league at the Merrion Fleet Arena in the closing minutes of an epicly close-run campaign and it could be the same venue for the coronation.
It is a measure of the turnover in personnel for Town that they now need to get at least a point from those two meetings with UCD to have any chance of escaping the drop with the retirements and departures to foreign shores seeing their swing in fortunes.
They did hold Railway Union at bay in their back-match on Thursday evening, recording a scoreless draw for their fifth point of the season with Liz Murphy excelling between the posts.
Should the students win and Cork Harlequins miss out on victory at Railway, the title will be confirmed this weekend, three weeks out from the playoffs. Railway, for their part, are chasing a top four playoff place and a win would put them in that frame.
Ards did what they could in midweek to keep their outside chances alive with Chloe Brown scoring both goals on Wednesday in a 2-1 win over Belfast Harlequins. Ards are next up against Pegasus on Sunday.
At the bottom, Pembroke will hope they can grab a result to finally put some distance between them and Trinity in the battle to avoid the relegation playoff spot.
Pembroke meet a Belfast Quins who look out of the running for the playoff berths while Trinity are at Loreto whose chances are similarly remote with seven points to make up from four games.
Elsewhere, the women’s EY Hockey League wildcard provincial playoffs play out at Alexandra College with five teams battling it out in a round-robin for one ticket for the playoff finals weekend.
Hosts Alex start off against Corinthian whom they lost two twice this season. Queen’s finished runners-up in the Ulster Premier off the back of a 0-0 draw against champions Lurgan on Monday but have some star quality in Jessica McMaster and Erin Getty.
Their first tie is against a Catholic Institute side who have won both the Munster Senior Cup and Irish Hockey Trophy in the last two weeks. Dungannon are the last side to enter the fray having secured their playoff ticket in midweek, too.
The winner of the wildcard round will join Muckross, UCC, Lurgan and either NUIG or Greenfields at the Mardyke in a fortnight’s time.
EY Hockey League: UCD 4 (K Mullan 2, L Tice, A Russell) Pembroke 0; Hermes-Monkstown 0 Railway Union 0; Ards 2 (C Brown 2) Belfast Harlequins 1 (J McAuley)
EYHL Wildcard Provincial Play-offs (all at Alexandra College): Corinthian v Old Alex, 10.15am; QUB v Catholic Institute, 11.45am; Dungannon v Corinthian, 1.30pm; Old Alex v QUB, 3pm; Catholic Institute v Dungannon, 4.45pm.
EY Hockey League: Ards v Pegasus, 2.30pm, Londonderry Park; Loreto v Trinity, 2pm, Beaufort; Hermes-Monkstown v UCD, 2.30pm, Merrion Fleet Arena; Pembroke Wanderers v Belfast Harlequins, 2.30pm, Serpentine Avenue; Railway Union v Cork Harlequins, 1pm, Farmer’s Cross