Doherty puts Pegs back on winning track; Loreto keep pace and UCD and Railway land key results

Women’s EY Hockey League – week six round-up
Cork Harlequins 2 (C Sargent, E O’Leary) Pegasus 4 (T Doherty 2, A Speers, S McCay)

Pegasus overcame a serious amount of pressure to pick off their chances when they came to beat Cork Harlequins 4-2 at Farmers’ Cross, making it five wins from six to date in the EY Hockey League. The hosts – who welcomed back Rebecca Barry to the fold – had vast swathes of possession and more corners but could not make it tell on the scoreboard.

The Ulster side went in front when Alex Speers, a crucial figure throughout, robbed a loose clearance on the 23-metre line and exchanged quick passes with Taite Doherty who finished well.

It became 2-0 from Quins’ second penalty corner which was blocked and instantly fired all the way up the right sideline where it broke to Kate Gourley. She laid off to Doherty to tap into an unguarded net.

Ruth Maguire went agonisingly close to a third from a corner but it was Quins who were making most of the play. And they got one back from the penalty spot when a series of corners ended with a shot hitting Pamela Glass’s leg on the line. Cliodhna Sargent sent Megan Todd the wrong way for 2-1.

Pegs restored the two-goal advantage at half-time in similar fashion when a corner shot hit a foot on the line, Shirley McCay dispatching this one. There was still over half an hour to play, though, when an Yvonne O’Byrne shot bobbled all the way to Emily O’Leary at the back post, gobbling up the chance at the second attempt for 3-2.

Quins bossed the third quarter as Pegasus – who travelled with just 12 players – sat deep and they were initially awarded a stroke only to see the decision overturned for a free out. Todd saved brilliantly from O’Byrne to keep Pegs’ noses in front and they won the day when Speers produced some wonderful close skills with 12 minutes to go before slipping in the clincher.

Muckross 0 Railway Union 2 (H de Burgh Whyte, K Fearon)
Railway Union won their Dublin 4 derby to give them some breathing room from the relegation places as Muckross wait for their first win at this level continues.

The Marlborough Road hosts started well with Sophie Barnwell set through one on one but Carolyn Cramption snuffed out the chance. Railway, meanwhile, nailed their first chance as Hannah de Burgh Whyte scored a low drag-flick for 1-0 in the eighth minute.

It remained that way through an even first half with Muckross finding the net from a Laura Hanlon corner sweep from the injector spot but the effort did not stand as it went over the backboard.

Railway moved further ahead despite Niamh Sweeney’s yellow card as they took a quick free to cut loose with Sarah Hawkshaw battling her way through in midfield. She spread the play out to Kate Lloyd whose pass picked out the arriving Katie Fearon to bundle in under pressure for 2-0. Railway had a couple more corners in the closing quarter and a yellow for the returning Anna May Whelan but they closed out the tie for their first win since the opening day of the campaign.

“We competed really well and were certainly unlucky with some of the chances we had,” Muckross coach Sarah Scott said afterwards.

As the game went on, Railway got a grip on the game but we fought back and could have equalised. We are getting there and definitely improving game by game. We are very young as everyone knows but we have a huge amount of talent and are really looking forward to our game away against Harlequins.”

Old Alexandra 1 (E Russell) Loreto 2 (A Meeke, H Matthews)
Two goals in a four-minute spell after half-time from World Cup stars Ali Meeke and Hannah Matthews saw Loreto maintain their winning streak, overturning a 1-0 half-time deficit at Milltown.

Emma Russell had continued Alex’s regular run of early goals when she netted just a few minutes in from the top of the circle. Aine Connery hit the outside of the goal while Loreto won a couple of corners but could not glean anything from them in a lively first quarter.

Alex also hit the post in the second period before Loreto upped their tempo with Matthews picking passes and Sarah Torrans looking dangerous. They got level in the 42nd minute when Sarah Clarke’s pc smash was guided into the roof of the net by Meeke for 1-1.

And they went ahead soon after from their next corner, a baseline smack after she injected the penalty corner. Connery won a couple of corners before the end of the third quarter but they did not come to anything before Alex had some driving attacks in the last period – swapping out goalkeeper Pam Smithwick for a time – but Matthews played a key role in dampening the momentum.

“We’re disappointed. We could have taken something from it,” Old Alex coach Scott Lowrie said afterwards. “Like the UCD game, we have given them a challenge but haven’t taken what we deserved. We are quite disappointed but we knew we can challenge and any team that comes here, they know they are going to get a game.

“We have Pegasus next week and Belfast Harlequins the week after and we are targetting six points because we have proven we can challenge the best; now we just need to take points off them.”

UCD 3 (M Carey, N Heisterkamp, L McGuire) Pembroke 1 (S Loughran)
UCD moved back into third place with a hard-fought 3-1 win over Pembroke to make it four wins from six to date. They did so without the services of Abbie Russell and Hannah McLoughlin while Pembroke were shy Aisling Naughton and Sorcha Clarke.

It was all Pembroke in the first quarter until UCD plundered something from nothing, Michelle Carey rebounding after Ellen Curran’s shot fell her way, applying a lovely finish.

That settled the students and they doubled their advantage in the second quarter in delightful fashion, Anna Richardson intercepting in midfield, playing it to Niamh Carey who worked the ball to Nina Heisterkamp who made no mistake.

Ava Beatty went very close to a third in the final throes of the half but Pembroke hit back after the big break with Laura Noble finding Sinead Loughran at the back post to half the deficit.

They forced UCD to do a lot of defending with Leah McGuire making numerous interventions and, at the far end, she added to her performance with their third goal, nailing a corner strike for 3-1.

Noble almost snuck in a second for Pembroke with Orla Macken powering them forward in a tireless performance but UCD kept it out to record the victory.

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