Railway make big leap into women’s EYHL playoff positions

Women’s EY Hockey League – day 10 round-up
Belfast Harlequins 1 (C Weir) Railway Union 5 (Z Delany 3, C Joyce, K Lloyd)
Railway Union jumped up three places in the women’s EY Hockey League with a huge 5-1 away win over Belfast Harlequins as Zara Delany netted a hat trick.

The result continues their superb form, winning 11 points from their last five games in addition outdoors to landing the National Indoor Trophy recently.

Zara Delany scored a hat trick as Railway continue their rise. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Indeed, the scoreline flattered Davy Frazer’s side, who could have been beaten by a bigger mrgin had it not been for the heroics of home keeper Marianne Fox and some wayward finishing from the visitors.

Railway could have been out of sight in the first quarter after carving out six clear cut chances in the opening 12 minutes. Irish international Sarah Hawkshaw (twice) and Delany both shot wide early on and Kate McKenna and Kate Lloyd were both denied by Fox, who then made a great save from Kate Lloyd.

The Dublin side broke the deadlock in the 24th minute when Cecilia Joyce scored from a penalty corner before Claire Weir equalised on the half-hour against the run of play. Delany made it 2-1 from the penalty spot in the 45th minute and Lloyd added a third with 11 minutes left when she scored from a rebound after Hawkshaw’s initial shot had been saved.

Delany completed her hat-trick with two more goals in the last three minutes to complete an emphatic victory, twice scoring into an empty net after Quins had withdrawn Fox to have an extra outfield player.

The biggest cheer of the day from the home fans came when, with Railway leading 4-1, Quins’ kicking back Rachel Johnston brilliantly saved Delany’s penalty stroke with her stick. The pair sportingly shared a high-five and a giggle immediately after the incident before Delany had the last laugh when she completed her treble.

Muckross 0 Loreto 6 (H Matthews 2, S O’Brien, N Daly, A Meeke, M Jennings)
Loreto ran up a strong 6-0 win over Muckross to maintain their place at the top of the women’s EY Hockey League table. They had the majority f the play in the first quarter but Ellie McLoughlin kept things scoreless with a key saves from a pair of penalty corners.

From their third set-puece, they broke the deadlock with Hannah Matthews – in the injector’s position where she netted a last minute winner a week earlier – making no mistake from a switch move. It became two in the 24th minute when a shot well saved by McLoughlin was caught on the rebound by Siofra O’Brien and sent high into the net.

Two became three seven minutes into the second half from a scrappy corner breakdown, Nicci Daly firing a rising shot into the goal from the left of the D. Matthews got her second from a penalty stroke and Loreto added an extra gloss to the scoreline in the last five minutes. Ali Meeke slotted one from a corner and she then assisted by flicking into the circle for Mia Jennings to deflect in mid-air to send in the sixth.

Old Alexandra 0 Cork Harlequins 3 (R Barry, M Barry, C Perdue)
Cork Harlequins continued their excellent away form with a fourth win from five road trips, lifting tem up fifth place in the women’s EYHL table.

They had already threatened a couple of times before Olivia Roycroft’s cross from the left found Rebecca Barry who applied a rocket of a finish in the eighth minute for 1-0.

Quins went on to win seven first half penalty corners but, like last week against Loreto, could not make them count with Michelle Barry’s shot onto the post the pick of their efforts. Rebecca Evans’ number one running was a feature of the Alex defensive effort while Pam Smithwick produced some incredible reaction saves.

The second did eventually come from corner number eight when Cliodhna Sargent picked out Michelle Barry who trapped and lifted into the goal.

Caoimhe Perdue copper-fastened Cork Harlequins’ win over Old Alex. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Alex got more into the tie after that with Aine Connery at the heart of things but they did not unduly threaten Becky Maye’s goal other than Hannah McDermott tipped wide.

And Quins put the game to bed from yet another set piece as Yvonne O’Byrne slid the ball to the left of goal for Caoimhe Perdue to tap in. Freya McDermott hit the post from a late Alex corner but Quins had their fifth win of the campaign with a little to spare.

Pegasus 2 (S McCay, M Harvey) Pembroke 0
Pegasus bounced back from their defeat to UCD with a solid 2-0 win over a dangerous Pembroke to keep the pressure on Loreto at the head of the table. Shirley McCay opened the scoring just three minutes into the game from a straight shot from a penalty corner, a lead which was augmented just before half-time by Michelle Harvey.

It remained that way through a scoreless second half as Pegs landed their eighth win of the campaign, sitting second one point behind Loreto.

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