Loreto’s last second magic sees Beaufort side back on top

Women’s EY Hockey League – day nine round-up
Loreto 1 (H Matthews) Cork Harlequins 0
Hannah Matthews kept her cool brilliantly to break Cork Harlequins’ hearts and move back to the top of the women’s EY Hockey League with the last touch of a huge battle at Grange Road.

The Farmers Cross side were left to rue their incomplete chances as they had the better of the contest’s scrappy, general play in what was a repeat of last season’s Champions Trophy final.

The Cork side won two early corners with Olivia Roycroft going close and had the edge of the openings that did come about.

Another series of three set-pieces came in the final 10 minutes but Loreto held firm and then gave a ruthless display of efficiency to score from a penalty corner on the final hooter.

Sarah Clarke slipped it to Matthews to control and flick into the roof of the net for a devastating late 1-0 blow to Quins.

UCD 3 (S Patton, N Carey, A Russell) Pegasus 2 (A Speers, T Doherty)
Abbie Russell slotted the odd goal in five in the 68th minute to give UCD a big win over Pegasus, knocking the Ulster side off top spot in the process.

It capped a fine comeback in the last 20 minutes of a cracking contest at Belfield. The first quarter ended scoreless in a very even contest but UCD went in front in the 21st minute with the only goal of the half, Orla Patton setting up her sister Sarah to score from the second corner of the game.

Pegs fought back in the second half with Shirley McCay at the heart of things. First, she set up Alex Speers to slot home, continuing her prolific season, 1-1 in the 48th minute. Three minutes later, McCay drove the ball into the D and Taite Doherty emerged with the final touch for a 2-1 lead going into the final quarter.

UCD upped the ante and won a series of penalty corners before scoring the pick of their goals this season to date as Ellen Curran, Michelle Carey and Nina Heisterkamp all played a role in getting Niamh Carey through to get down low to fire in.

That came with 11 minutes of packed drama to go as Pegs won two corners while UCD also had some set pieces before winning it when Curran found Niamh Carey who in turn shipped on to Heisterkamp. Her pass to Russell led to the winner.

Pembroke 3 (G Pinder 2, O Macken) Belfast Harlequins 3 (J Watt 2, L Colvin)
Pembroke and Belfast Harlequins shared a highly entertaining draw at Serpentine Avenue as things remain very congested in mid-table. Pembroke drew first blood when Quins delayed a free too long for umpire Gillian Garrett’s liking and she reversed the decision.

Sinead Loughran was alive to the situation and raced onto the ball as the Belfast side stood watching; the first phase was cleared but only to Orla Macken who switched the point of attack to Gillian Pinder who hit home from top D.

Jenna Watt smacked in a corner hit to make it 1-1 at half-time and they went in front in the second half. Lizzie Colvin did brilliantly to win the ball herself and race into the circle, unleashing a reverse into the bottom corner.

Orla Macken levelled the game for a second time when she, as stopper, took on an off-course corner injection and struck sweetly into the backboard. Early in the fourth quarter, Belfast retook the lead with Watt again the scorer, her hit taking a looping deflection off number one runner Loughran for 3-2.

Pinder, though, had the final say when she floated in down the right channel and while her initial cross was cut out, the ball fell kindly for her to angle a slap into the top of the goal.

Railway Union 2 (O Fox, Z Delany) Old Alexandra 1 (E Russell)
Railway Union moved above Old Alex in the table with a 2-1 victory at Park Avenue, moving within two points of the Champions Trophy playoff places.

The first half ended scoreless with Railway holding most of the play. The second half saw the hosts take the lead via Orla Fox when she took on an off-course penalty corner injection, drifted right before shooting into the left corner.

Emma Russell equalised with the game approaching the hour mark following some gorgeous skills from Aine Connery. Zara Delany replied instantly, though, to turn things back Railway’s way as they recorded their third win of the campaign, turning home from some sharp Sarah Hawkshaw work, creating space with her back to goal to get to the endline and crossing.

Muckross v Ards – postponed due to a bereavement

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