Old friends meet as Alex and UCD face off in Milltown

Plenty of old friends will meet up at Milltown as Old Alex’s fruitful start to the season sees them host UCD with both sides sitting on six points after two games.

Aine Connery has been a superb addition for Ivan Ovington’s team, scoring four in two appearances, including a hat trick last time out. Alex featured eight former UCD players in their line-up and they come up against a student side that are quickly learning to play together.

Their win over Loreto last week was precise in its execution with Ellen Curran a buzzing presence in midfield on her return to action while Katherine Egan is also back to face her old club. Sisters Abbie and Emma Russell face each other, adding to the close links between the sides.

Pegasus have set the pace to date with three wins from three with former Irish skipper Alex Speers netting four times in her last two outings at the arrowhead of the attack.

Indeed, they have been free-scoring so far – getting four more than anyone else to date – and will look to take that into their away date at Railway Union.

The threats are multi-faceted with Pegs’ corner switch to Steph Thompson a source of joy. She is part of well-heeled portion of the side along with Shirley McCay and Pamela Glass while youngsters like Kate Gourley, Lucy McKee and Under-21 international Taite Doherty make for a balanced line-up. Michelle Harvey missed their 4-0 win over Ards last week.

They will come up against an experienced back four with Holly Jenkinson, Orla Fox, Emer Lucey and Hannah de Burgh Whyte controlling things, hopefully setting a platform from which they can threaten Megan Todd’s goal.

Cork Harlequins’ date with Pembroke is an intriguing match-up. Quins broke their scoring duck in great style when they beat their Belfast namesakes 3-0 with Olivia Roycroft proving a disruptive presence with her direct lines.

Cliodhna Sargent and Yvonne O’Byrne were both exceptional, too. They face a seriously pacey challenge on Saturday when they come up against Gillian Pinder, Sinead Loughran and Emily Beatty who play the game at a high tempo.

Ards have yet to score in their three matches to date and they face a tough test on Saturday as they prepare to take on Loreto, who won the Champions Trophy last season and have two wins from three so far.

Belfast Harlequins will be looking for an improved performance when they host Muckross at Deramore as they aim to bounce back from their home defeat.

Loreto’s Hannah Matthews and UCD’s Sarah Young in action last Saturday. Pic: Sinead Hingston

Quins coach Davy Frazer said: “It’s early days still but with four points out of a possible nine so far, we can’t afford too many more slip-ups if we are to challenge for the top-four which is our aim.”

There is a full round of Leinster Division One fixtures. Trinity and Glenanne both have two wins from two at this early stage.

The students going to Naas having scored 14 times and not conceded yet; they meet a Kildare-based side in their first year in Division One who have yet to score but have not been far off the pace against Corinthian and North Kildare.

Glenanne meet Our Lady’s at St Andrew’s with the turf at Glenanne Park being lifted this week with work starting on their new pitch.

Monkstown will anticipate having too much for Rathgar while Corinthian are playing Avoca – a fixture that has produced a draw in four of the last five encounters.

North Kildare and Genesis got off the mark last Saturday and will be looking to build on that form.

Women’s fixtures (all Saturday)
EY Hockey League: Belfast Harlequins v Muckross, 2.30pm, Deramore Park; Cork Harlequins v Pembroke, 1.05pm, Farmers’ Cross; Loreto v Ards, 2.50pm, Three Rock Rovers; Old Alex v UCD, 2pm, Milltown; Railway Union v Pegasus, 2.30pm

Irish Hockey Challenge, round 1: NICS v Kilkenny, 2.30pm, Stormont; Mullingar v Tipperary, 12pm, Loreto Mullingar; Clonakilty v Clonmel, 1.30pm, Clonakilty; Cork Wanderers v Greenfields, 2.30pm; Dromore v Athlone, 2.30pm, Dromore

Irish Junior Cup, round 1: UCC v Pegasus, 2pm, The Mardyke; Mossley v Cork Harlequins, 2.30pm, The Glade

Leinster Division One: Naas v Trinity, 12pm, Caragh Road; Glenanne v Our Lady’s, 1pm, St Andrew’s; Avoca v Corinthian, 2pm, Newpark; Rathgar v Monkstown, 2.15pm, High School; North Kildare v Genesis, 4pm, The Maws

Munster Division One: UCC v Cork C of I, 11.30am, The Mardyke; Waterford v Ashton, 12.30pm, Newtown School; Belvedere v Bandon, 1pm, Ballincollig

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