UCD one point away from EYHL title retention

Women’s EY Hockey League – day 16 round-up
Hermes-Monkstown 0 UCD 5 (D Duke 2, K Mullan 2, E Russell)
Five second half goals moved UCD to the brink of the women’s EY Hockey League title for a second successive season, eventually breaking down the bottom side’s defences.

UCD are within a point of retaining the women’s EYHL title. Pic: Adrian Boehm

It took until the third quarter before Deirdre Duke got the breakthrough. Within two minutes, the UCD captain had another when she profited from Bethany Barr’s turnover. Duke turned creator for the third goal in the closing quarter when she sent the ball across the D for Katie Mullan to turn in.

Liz Murphy made some brilliant saves to keep the score down during this phase but she could not deny Emma Russell in one series of attacks. Mullan completed the win from a corner.

It now means UCD need just a point from their closing two league games if they are to retain the EYHL crown. Hermes-Monkstown remain four points off ninth placed Trinity who they meet next week.

Railway Union 2 (K McKenna, K Lloyd) Cork Harlequins 2 (R Hobbs 2)
Rachel Hobbs pair of late goals saw Cork Harlequins just about keep the EY Hockey League title chase going as she salvaged a 2-2 draw at Railway Union that leaves Quins nine points behind UCD with three games remaining.

At a rain-swept Park Avenue, Railway were at full strength and were first out of the blocks when Kate McKenna deflected the ball into the net from a corner. Soon afterwards, the impressive Zara Delany went on a looping run and fed the ball to Kate Lloyd who drove the ball off her reverse into the corner of the net to put Railway 2-0 up in the first quarter.

Quins could not make any inroads into the deficit before the big break with Grace O’Flanagan making two strong saves. Both teams had chances to score in quarter three but the score remained 2-0 to the home side.

From an early corner Quins’ Emma Barber swept wide. At the other end, Michelle Carey dispossessed Nicola Kerr in midfield, attacked the circle and laid off to Cecelia Joyce whose shot went just wide of the advancing Emma Buckley from the Cork goal.

The visitors upped the tempo in the final quarter, pinning Railway in their own half. O’Flanagan made a point blank save and a Julia O’Halloran deflection glanced just wide.

Railway’s resolute defence was broken when Rachel Hobbs drove into the circle and her early shot rocketed into the corner of the goal.

From the pushback, Cliodhna Sargeant drove at the Railway defence and was rewarded with a corner which was scored by Hobbs. In the closing eight minutes, Quins had the best chance to win it from a corner but to no avail.

Pembroke Wanderers 1 (H O’Donnell) Belfast Harlequins 2 (L Geddes, A Edwards)
Belfast Harlequins came from a goal behind to secure a win that assures them of their place in the women’s EY Hockey League for a third successive season, beating Pembroke 2-1.

Pembroke started well with Emily Beatty and Orla Macken going close and they went ahead via Hayley O’Donnell’s strike from a corner in the first quarter. Lucy Geddes, however, jabbed in at close range with three minutes to go to half-time.

The hosts were unable to capitalise on a glut of second half chances and they were made to pay with Abi Edwards one of two Belfast Quins players bearing down on Iseult Cambay’s goal, scoring a great goal for 2-1.

Katie O’Byrne kept out a third off the line to keep Pembroke in the hunt and they almost had their leveller but Erika Hinkson chipped a reverse over the bar.

Rachel Hobbs scored two crucial goals for Cork Harlequins. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Loreto 4 (S Clarke, N Daly, M Jennings, S Torrans) Trinity 0
Loreto ran up a 4-0 win over Trinity to keep their outside chances of grabbing an EY Champions Trophy spot just about alive. Sarah Clarke put them in front inside the first seven minutes with a typically powerful hit from the top of the circle.

Hannah Matthews went close to a second to keep the game in the balance at half-time but the Beaufort club did move further ahead from a set piece when Nicci Daly picked up the pieces following a Carolyn Crampton stick-save.

And they finished with a flourish in the fourth quarter with Mia Jennings’ direct strike from play and a cracking effort from Sarah Torrans stretching the lead out to four by the final whistle.

Ards 0 Pegasus 3 (H Grieve, R Murdock, T Doherty)
Pegasus moved within a point of being assured an EY Champions Trophy place as they won their Ulster derby against Ards with a 3-0 win.

Hannah Grieve put them in front in the 11th minute when she deflected in Michelle Harvey’s shot. Rachael Murdock moved them two clear early in the second half and Taite Doherty’s goal made the game completely safe in the closing minutes.

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