Loreto strengthened their position at the head of women’s EY Hockey League with a hard-fought 3-2 win over in-form Railway Union, moving them four points clear.
It earned them a bit of revenge for their Jacqui Potter Cup exit to the same opposition just four days earlier as both sides’ international crews returned to the fray.
Sarah Clarke was credited with getting the Beaufort side up and running, her penalty corner strike taking a defensive stick en route to goal for 1-0. Nicci Daly finished off a fast, flowing move to double the lead at half-time.
Kate McKenna pulled one back with half an hour to go but Sarah Evans replied quickly for a 3-1 lead. Kate Lloyd got another back when there was still 23 minutes left to play but the hosts held on for a ninth win of the campaign.
It is one of just two EYHL games this week with Old Alex facing Muckross on Sunday in a key encounter at the bottom. The latter have yet to win in the league but did run up a confident 3-0 win over Alex in the cup and a repeat could give them a lifeline of escaping the bottom two.
Lose and they would have at least 12 points to make up from their last eight games to get to eighth place; otherwise, it is a straight battle with Ards to salvage a wildcard playoff game.
Leinster Division One’s title race continues at pace with the top three hoping for no slips. Leaders Trinity have a potential banana-skin when Glenanne comes to visit Santry Avenue but the Tallaght side will have to breach a defence that has kept 11 clean sheets in 14 outings.
Monkstown host Genesis looking to stretch their winning streak to 11 successive games in the Leinster league. Genesis did score their first goal in seven games in midweek when they drew 1-1 with North Kildare on Wednesday but whether they can contain Chloe Watkins, Rachel Moore and Sadhbh Hoban-Logan is another matter.
Corinthian can conceivably mathematically secure a top three place should they beat Rathgar and Glenanne lose and stay in the title race. But they will also be keeping an eye on Sunday’s Muckross result as any relegation for them would deny them a place in next season’s EYHL2.
Women’s weekend fixtures (Saturday unless stated)
EY Hockey League
Thursday: Loreto 3 (S Clarke, N Daly, S Evans) Railway Union 2 (K McKenna, K Lloyd)
Sunday: Old Alexandra v Muckross, Milltown, 2.30pm
Irish Junior Cup (quarter-finals): Loreto v Lisnagarvey, Loreto High School, Grange Road, 3pm; Old Alexandra v Pegasus, Milltown, 3pm; Pembroke Wanderers v Railway Union, Serpentine Avenue, 4pm; UCD v Cork Harlequins, Belfield, 1pm
Leinster Division 1
Wednesday: Genesis 1 North Kildare 1 (N O’Malley)
Saturday: Avoca v North Kildare, Sion Hill School, 2.30pm; Monkstown v Genesis, Rathdown School, 4.15pm; Naas v Our Lady’s, Caragh Road, 2pm; Rathgar v Corinthian, The High School, 12.30pm; Trinity v Glenanne, Trinity Sports Grounds, 1.45pm
Munster Division 1
Thursday: UCC 5 (A Collins 2, A Bourke, J Clein, C Dring) Belvedere 0
Saturday: Ashton v Cork C of I, Ashton School, 2pm; Catholic Institute v Bandon, Rosbrien, 12.30pm; Limerick v Waterford, Villiers, 1pm
Sunday: Cork C of I v UCC, Garryduff, 2pm
Jacqui Potter Senior Shield (semi-finals)
Sunday: Avoca v Loreto II, Sion Hill, 4pm; Railway Union II v Naas, Railway Union HC, 5.15pm