Loreto and Alex advance to Jacqui Potter final four; quarter-final reaction

Loreto and Old Alex ensured all four of the Jacqui Potter Cup semi-finalists hail from the EY Hockey League as they joined Railway Union and UCD in the final four.

Loreto pulled clear of Glenanne in the second half with a 4-0 result after an initially close-run battle. Jess Meeke picked out the top corner for the only goal of the first half against her former club during a phase in which the Glens had their chances.

Loreto’s Sarah Evans. Pic: Adrian Boehm

The second half, though, saw the Beaufort side push on with Sarah Evans scoring a cracking reverse while Aoife Taaffe added a third soon after. Sarah Clarke made no mistake from a penalty corner rebound off her initial shot.

“Glenanne are improving all the time and they made it very difficult for us,” Loreto coach Paul Fitzpatrick said afterwards.

“Either team could have been in the lead early on. Our second goal finally gave us that bit of breathing room.”

He was able to welcome back a trio of Irish Under-21 stars while Sinead McGirr and Anne Marie Byrne stepped up from the seconds for the tie.

For Fitzpatrick’s counterpart David Keogh, his summation was: “Happy with the performance; disappointed with the result.”

Their focus, though, is on closing the gap to the leading trio in Leinster Division One to have a shot at the EYHL2.

“We need to start getting the results against the likes of Monkstown and Corinthian and we are confident of doing that. When you look at where the side were last year and where they are now, both mentally and physically, it’s completely different.

“We have a direction and know what we want to do. The girls have put in a massive effort and are doing everything we possibly can to get up to the next level.”

The other tie to be completed saw Old Alex win 3-0 against Pembroke II with Erika Hinkson and Aine Connery putting them 2-0 up before Emma Russell completed the win.

For Alex coach Ivan Ovington, he was delighted to get through a “tricky tie” as his side awaits the return of Lisa Jacob and Emma Duncan after a lengthy spell out injured.

Nonetheless, they had a reasonably positive start to life in the EYHL before Christmas following their promotion.

“We have done well so far but are still learning. It has been a big step up from Division One in Leinster to the EYHL. There are plenty of things we still need to learn which will hopefully help us pick up a few results as we go through the second half of the season.

Pembroke II coach Dave Loughrey said it was a useful exercise for his side despite the outcome.

“I don’t think the difference in standard was evident. Two of the goals were probably slightly against the run of play. They got a well-taken goal in the second half but I think we showed our potential and am delighted to have gone three rounds in the cup against first eleven teams. Our focus is on the Irish Junior Cup and the league so this was a good warm-up for us.”

In the shield, Zoe Watterson’s single goal sees Avoca beat Genesis 1-0. Railway Union eliminated Our Lady’s 3-1 while Muckross II had a strong 3-0 win at Three Rock.

Doubles from Lucy Small and Niamh Delaney earned North Kildare a 4-1 win at Clontarf and their county counterparts Naas are also through after a 3-0 success against Dublin North.

** Interviews conducted by Dublin City FM’s Declan Hughes

Jacqui Potter Cup, quarter-finals: Loreto 4 (J Meeke, S Evans, A Taaffe, S Clarke) Glenanne 0; Pembroke II 0 Old Alex 3 (E Hinkson, A Connery, E Russell)

Jacqui Potter Shield, first round: Avoca 1 (Z Watterson) Genesis 0; Old Alex II 1 Monkstown II 2; Railway Union II 3 (P Friend-Pereira, M Reidy, K Sullivan) Our Ladys 1; Three Rock Rovers 0 Muckross II 3 (C Shillington, S Sparling, F McNulty); Clontarf 1 North Kildare 4 (L Small 2, N Delaney 2); Naas 3 (R Farrell, R McMullen, O Brennan) Dublin North 0

Partners of The Hook