Muckross finally score big win as young stars come of age

Muckross finally turned a strong performance into a result as they beat Old Alex 3-0 in the second round of the Irish Senior Cup, a big turnaround from their 5-1 league loss to the same opponent.

Laura Hanlon put them ahead in the 13th minute from a corner before Niamh Gowing gave Muckross extra breathing space at half-time on the rebound for 2-0.

Yasmin Pratt showed her prodigious pace to race clear down the right and then bury a one-on-one chance to complete the 3-0 win in the last few minutes.

Reflecting on the tie, Muckross coach Sarah Scott was thrilled with the outcome: “I am absolutely delighted with how the girls played. We started really well, pressed extremely well and won a lot of ball in midfield.

“I am really happy we won a corner from it and scored and that set us up, giving us huge confidence.”

She had felt her young side, the majority in their first season at the top table, were getting closer and closer to a result and feels this victory can carry huge significance for the second half of the season.

“Over the last three or four games, we have struggled in that area but going one up helped the side realise their potential. In the second half, we started the same way and kept our structure.

“We were able to move the ball into space and got on the end of two really good passes. It was a deserved win to finish the first half of the season. This team has really grown up in the last few months and so I am really looking forward to the second half of the season.”

In similar fashion, Ards got their first win of the national-grade season when they beat Belfast Harlequins 3-2 to reach the last eight. Quins had taken an early lead via Lucy Geddes but the advantage was swapped by half-time when Frankie Brown slipped home from Erin Camlin’s ball in and Becky Weir pounced on a corner rebound.

Ards added to their lead via Brown’s second, latching onto Amy Benson’s cross to tip under a diving goalkeeper.

As in the league tie, the Belfast side pulled off their keeper to good effect for the last 10 minutes as they got back in the game with Abi Edwards pulling one back. But Naomi McKnight shone between the posts to give Ards a confidence-boosting win and a place in the last eight.

Loreto survived a tricky trip to Ballymoney, Sarah Evans and Christina Hamill scoring in the second half to outdo an Olivia Mullan goal. The first half had ended scoreless.

Railway Union also found Ulster Elks a tough nut to crack but eventually won through 3-1 at Park Avenue. Zara Delany and Megan Frazer made it 1-1 at half-time as Gemma Ferguson kept Elks on terms for long periods but a low sweep from Orla Fox made it 2-1.

Niamh Sweeney and Lily Lloyd then combined to assist Kate McKenna in making it 3-1 and sealing the deal.

Niamh Gowing scored a crucial goal for Muckross. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Pegasus were 5-2 winners against Trinity, doing most of the damage in the first half as they tore into a 4-0 lead. Michelle Harvey started that run with a flick into the bottom corner from a baseline pull-back. Lucy McKee’s deflection from Pamela Glass’s corner shot made it two and she was on the mark again for the third.

Taite Doherty laid on the fourth for Hannah Craig. Sally Campbell pulled two back in the second half for Trinity to make things lively but Alex Speers completed the Pegs’ win from a corner move, a left slip to Steph Thompson that was fired into the former Irish captain’s path.

Cork Harlequins were too strong for Banbridge, winning 5-0, while UCD went one better with Sarah Young scoring two in their 6-0 win over Lurgan, racing clear in the second half.

Laura Noble continued her excellent scoring form, making it five in three club games with a double in a 4-0 win for Pembroke over Monkstown.

In the Trophy, Three Rock Rovers and Our Lady’s hold up the Leinster representation in the last eight after their wins over Bandon and Clontarf.

For Three Rock, Aoife McCarthy got the only goal in a 1-0 win in west Cork, making it five games unbeaten in all competitions. Our Lady’s got their first win of the season with a 2-1 success against Tarf.

Bray bowed out in a shoot-out to Greenfields, North Kildare lost at Portadown while Weston fell 6-0 to Raphoe and Rathgar lost 5-1 in Omagh.

Irish Senior Cup round 2: Ards 3 (F Brown 2, B Weir) Belfast Harlequins 2 (L Geddes, A Edwards); Ballymoney 1 (O Mullan) Loreto 2 (S Evans, C Hamill); Cork Harlequins 5 (A O’Grady, O Roycroft, E O’Leary, C Sargent, R Barry) Banbridge, 0; Old Alexandra 0 Muckross 3 (L Hanlon, N Gowing, Y Pratt); Pegasus 5 (L McKee 2, M Harvey, H Craig, A Speers) Trinity 2 (S Campbell 2); Pembroke 4 (L Noble 2, C Foley, A Ward) Monkstown 0; Railway Union 3 (Z Delany, O Fox, K McKenna) Ulster Elks 1 (M Frazer); UCD 6 (S Young 2, M Carey, L Tice, N Carey, L McGuire) Lurgan 0

Irish Hockey round 2: Bandon 0 Three Rock Rovers 1 (A McCarthy); Bray 1 (R McDonagh) Greenfields 1 (K Dunleavy), Greenfields win shoot-out 4-3; Cork C of I 2 (K Coombes, R Kingston) Mossley 1 (N McMillan); Lisnagarvey 1 NUIG 2 (F Timmons, K Langan); Omagh 5 (E Shortt 2, A Buchanan, E Fulton, A McCollum) Rathgar 1; Our Lady’s 2 Clontarf 1; Portadown 2 North Kildare 1 (E Ryan-Doyle); Raphoe 6 (W E Patterson, L Smyth, V Wray, S McErlean, S Barnett, Z Tinney) Weston 0

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