Loreto face big test from Belfast Quins on key EYHL weekend

Loreto will be keen to put some difference between them and one of the chasers, Belfast Harlequins, in one of the highlights of day seven of the women’s EY Hockey League.

The tie forms part of the pitch opening at Three Rock Rovers’ back pitch at Grange Road with Paul Fitzpatrick’s side looking to build on their five wins from six.

It has been built on the most solid defence in the league, letting in just three so far, while their penalty corner options have played a huge part in their rise with nine different scorers already.

Belfast Quins have made decent strides toward the top half of the table this season with a very strong spine of the team via Gemma Frazer in defence, to Zoe Wilson and Lizzie Colvin and then up to Jenna Watt.

They sit in fourth place to date and are hungry for a marquee win over one of the main title challengers to cement their place in the top four.

Elsewhere, third place UCD host Railway Union with the hope Abbie Russell and Hannah McLoughlin are coming closer to fitness.
Lena Tice, meanwhile, is back in the country following her success in the New Zealand Hockey League while she was also player of the tournament in the Australia Hockey League.

At the far end of the table, Ards are ninth in the table, have just a solitary point from six games and have scored just two goals after drawing a blank in the first four matches of the season.

They take on Pembroke at Londonderry Park, anxious to take something from the game as there is now a five point gap between themselves and eighth-placed Cork Harlequins. Pembroke were without Aisling Naughton and Sorcha Clarke.

Cork Harlequins will be aiming to put greater distance between themselves and the EYHL relegation places when they meet basement side Muckross.

Last week saw a very welcome return to action for Rebecca Barry, adding to Quins’ forward armoury, following an extended break from the game.

They showed more than enough against joint-leaders Pegasus a week ago but were caught too often by sucker-punches. Tighten up that side of the game and the Cork side should move toward the top half.

Pegasus host Old Alex at Queen’s, knowing the Milltown side have won all of their games on the road so far this season with Aine Connery scoring five times, meaning this is far from a gimme.

However, Pegs are incredibly quick to counter and have Alex Speers in red-hot form both at the head of their press and in front of goal.

Isy Delamer has helped to marshal six successive clean sheets. Pic: Adrian Boehm

In Leinster Division One, Trinity continued their superb form in the local league with a 3-0 win over Glenanne in midweek with Sally Campbell, Rachel Burns and Ailish Long scoring.

Amazingly, they have yet to concede in six games with Isobel McGovern unbeaten in goal behind Isy Delamer, Aoife O’Sullivan – after a year out with a back injury – and Alex Burns.

Corinthian look to make it six wins from six when they come up against Rathgar before facing Trinity on Sunday in a potentially crucial showdown at the head of the table.

Fourth place Monkstown come up against Genesis looking to move into the top three.

Our Lady’s will have their work cut out to try and break down the Naas defence in Terenure whil North Kildare face Avoca.

Women’s weekend fixtures (Saturday unless stated)
EY Hockey Hockey League: Ards v Pembroke, 2.30pm, Londonderry Park; Cork Harlequins v Muckross, 1.05pm, Farmers’ Cross; Loreto v Belfast Harlequins, 2.50pm, Beaufort; Pegasus v Old Alex, 4pm, Queen’s; UCD v Railway Union, 2.50pm, Belfield

Leinster Division One
Tuesday: Trinity 3 (S Campbell, R Burns, A Long) Glenanne 0
Saturday: Corinthian v Rathgar, 1.30pm, Whitechurch Park; Genesis v Monkstown, 11.45am, St Raphaela’s; North Kildare v Avoca, 12.30pm, The Maws; Our Lady’s v Naas, 2pm, Terenure
Sunday: Corinthian v Trinity, 1pm, Whitechurch Park

Munster Division One: Bandon v Catholic Institute, 12.30pm, Bandon GS; Belvedere v UCC, 1pm, Ballincollig; Cork C of I v Ashton, 1pm, Garryduff; Waterford v Limerick, 12.30pm, Newtown School

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