UCD and Pegasus showdown as women’s EYHL returns from winter break

All the action in the women’s EY Hockey League set to go ahead this weekend will take place on Sunday as the national division emerges from its winter break.

The one EYHL game to be played on Saturday which would have been vitally important as it was a basement battle between Ards and Muckross at Londonderry Park has been postponed due to a bereavement in the Donnybrook camp.

On Sunday, leaders Pegasus are away to UCD in a repeat of last year’s Irish Senior Cup final but the Dublin side have lost several key players since then.

Pegasus will be confident of securing at least a draw, having played well in their recent 4-2 cup win over Pembroke Wanderers in Dublin. Two of their goals came from penalty corners on that occasion, both of them set up by Shirley McCay, much to the delight of Alex Speers, who bagged all four.

She said: “Our set-pieces let us down last season but we have been working hard on them in training and it’s nice when they came off in a match.”

“Shirley has brought a few corner moves back from Ireland and that’s one of the many advantages of having her in the team.

“Having won the Ulster Shield and got one trophy on the cabinet so far this season, we obviously want more silverware especially after under performing in the Irish Cup final last year.”

It is the pick of the ties as first plays third. UCD coach Miles Warren will hope that none of his charges involved in the Irish squad will come home from Spain with any injuries.

He felt his side played their best hockey to date in their cup outing against Loreto with Ellen Curran and Hannah McLoughlin playing alongside each other on a rare occasion after injury and illness in the first half of the season.

Belfast Harlequins expect to have Zoe Wilson back from injury for their clash with Pembroke in Dublin as both teams chase a top-four spot.

The 21-year-old World Cup silver medallist is well on the road to recovery after damaging her ankle during Ireland’s trip to Chile last month, ruling her out of the visit to Spain.

Loreto host Cork Harlequins at Grange Road’s back pitch. Quins finished the first half of the season in good form, rising to within touching distance of the playoff places and advancing to the Irish Senior cup semi-finals.

The Beaufort side had Liz Murphy, Nicci Daly, Hannah Matthews, Sarah Torrans and Ali Meeke all in Spain during the week and coach Paul Fitzpatrick will hope to have them all back in situ in full health.

Eighth plays seventh at Park Avenue with Railway keen to build on their strong indoor form outdoors when they come up against Old Alex.

There is precious little between third and eighth, though, with five points covering them all so a couple of wins for anyone will catapult them into the playoff chase.

In Leinster Division One, the top three will once again hope to avoid any slip-ups as they continue to be covered by just a single point. Trinity are at Avoca; Monkstown go to Naas and Corinthian host North Kildare.

All three need three wins from their last six games to assure a place, at the very least, in next season’s EYHL2 with 13 points in the difference back to Glenanne. Monday could be a key night in the title race with Town coming up against Corinthian.

The Irish Hockey Challenge reaches the final four stage with a county derby in Rockwell when Clonmel face Tipperary while Dromore host NUIG.

In Munster, it is Munster Senior Cup semi-final day with Belvedere hosting Catholic Institute and UCC facing Ashton. On Sunday, the league sees another key date with Insta taking on Ashton at Rosbrien with both sides currently on 24 points.

Women (Saturday unless stated)
EY Hockey League
Postponed: Ards v Muckross
Sunday: Loreto v Cork Harlequins, Three Rock Rovers, 1.30pm; Pembroke v Belfast Harlequins, Serpentine Ave, 4pm; Railway Union v Old Alexandra, Park Avenue, 3.50pm; UCD v Pegasus, Belfield, 1.30pm

Irish Hockey Challenge, semi-finals: Clonmel v Tipperary, Rockwell College, 2.30pm; Dromore v NUIG, Dromore, 1pm

Leinster Division 1: Avoca v Trinity, Sion Hill School, Merrion Ave, 3.30pm; Corinthian v North Kildare, Whitechurch Park, 2.30pm; Glenanne v Genesis, Glenanne Park, 2.30pm; Naas v Monkstown, Caragh Road, 1.30pm; Our Lady’s v Rathgar, Terenure, 12.30pm

Munster Senior Cup semi-finals: Belvedere v Catholic Institute, Ballincollig CS, 12.30pm; UCC v Ashton, Mardyke, 12pm
Munster Senior Plate semi-finals: Cork C of I v Limerick, Garryduff, 12pm; Waterford v Bandon, Newtown, 12.30pm
Munster Division 1 (Sunday): Catholic Institute v Ashton, Rosbrien, 1pm

Partners of The Hook