Pegasus put one hand on EYHL trophy with big win over Quins

Women’s EYHL – day 16 round-up
Saturday: Ards 2 (B McEwen, F Kidd) Belfast Harlequins 3 (L Geddes, J Watt, G Frazer)
Belfast Harlequins recorded their fifth win of the league season but results elsewhere meant their mathematical chances of reaching the EY Champions Trophy playoffs ended for this term.

After a lively start, Ards took the lead just before half-time from a penalty stroke from Brenna McEwen as Quins were unable to make their corner tally count against their Ulster rivals.

That all changed early in the second half with Lucy Geddes tying it up in the 39th minute and Jenna Watt got a nice deflection goal five minutes later.

Gemma Frazer eventually converted from the last of Quins’ corners with two minutes to go to make the points safe. Faye Kidd got one back on the final hooter for Ards.

Loreto 3 (S Torrans, N Daly, S Clarke) Old Alexandra 1 (E Russell)
Loreto got off to a dream start to win their 11th game of the campaign, keeping up their mathematical hopes of reeling in Pegasus. Sarah Torrans scored from play inside the first minute at Grange Road and she then laid on the perfect cross for Nicci Daly to score a beautiful deflection to make it 2-0 in the seventh minute.

The Beaufort side had chances for more goals with a number of penalty corners before half-time with lots of good play around the back from Caitlin Sherin and Hannah Matthews combined with good long passes into the D for the forward lines to work with.

Alex, though, defended well with Emma Duncan to the fore and they got one back early in the second half from a corner shot, Emma Russell lifting a rebound over Liz Murphy from the initial effort.

Sarah Clarke, though, provided a trademark strike from a penalty corner to win it in the closing quarter.

Pegasus 3 (L McKee, R Maguire, A Speers) Cork Harlequins 0
Pegasus made it seven wins in succession – and sixth in March – to continue their incredible burst from the pack to move to the brink of the EY Hockey League regular season title, moving them within one point of the title.

They backed up their 5-0 midweek win over Belfast Harlequins with a similarly confident 3-0 success against Cork Harlequins who had been in great form prior to the tie.

Lucy McKee got Pegs in front from a swift counter-attack just three minutes into the tie and Ruth Maguire backed that up just before half-time from a penalty corner switched back to the injector.

They maintained that lead through an end-to-end third quarter before Alex Speers copper-fastened the success with 12 minutes to go from another set piece, following up a corner rebound.

Pembroke Wanderers 2 (H O’Donnell, G Pinder) UCD 1 (A Russell)
A week after a shock loss to Ards, Pembroke bounced back to beat third-ranked UCD to give their chances of reaching the EY Champions Trophy playoffs a huge boost.

Pembroke scramble to clear a chance. Pic: Adrian Boehm

After an early injury to Suzie Kelly, Hayley O’Donnell put Pembroke on the right track with a powerful sweep shot. They spent much of the first quarter on the back foot, defending well while Louise Pert dealt with Hannah McLoughlin’s drag-flick.

An even second quarter saw Orla Patton run down the best of Pembroke’s chances as space and time proved hard to come by for either side.

Abbie Russell did put the back level in the 42nd minute from a free quickly-take on the 23, working it into the striker who finished on her reverse. But Aisling Naughton won a stroke soon after which Gillian Pinder scored to restore the host’s advantage with 20 minutes to go.

UCD hit the post twice in the endgame as the pace ratcheted up considerably in the closing quarter but no further scores meant Pembroke had a big win under their belts.

Railway Union 2 (K Lloyd, H de Burgh Whyte) Muckross 1 (S Cannon)
Railway Union ended a run of four EYHL defeats to rise back into seventh place in the table, reviving their faint EY Champions Trophy playoff chances.

Kate Lloyd showed some early menace and she lifted over Sorcha Cunningham from Zara Delany’s baseline run to make it 1-0 in the first quarter. Muckross equalised via corner injector Susie Cannon from a slick move but Railway restored their lead by half-time from a switch to Hannah de Burgh Whyte.

Cunningham made a double save to keep her side in the mix at half-time and she kept out a number of penalty corner chances in the third and fourth quarters. Muckross replied in kind, winning corners of their own but could not find a way through and Railway maintained the points. For Muckross, they now look to their crucial battle with Ards next weekend.

Sunday: Ards 1 (F Brown) Cork Harlequins 4 (C Sargent, A O’Grady, Y O’Byrne, N Barry)
Cork Harlequins got back to winning ways on Sunday after their tough 3-0 loss to Pegasus but winning 4-1 at Londonderry Park against Ards. Cliodhna Sargent smashed home from the top of the D for a great start before Alex O’Grady double the advantage in the 10th minute as Quins started at great pace.

Yvonne O’Byrne fired home another from the top of the circle after a spell of intense pressure, making it 3-0 at half-time. And any sting the game might have had was neutralised when Michelle Barry’s great run was turned in by Nicky Barry with half an hour.

Ards got one back via Frankie Brown before the end of the third quarter as the game became scrappier but it made little difference to the final outcome. It puts four points between them and EY Champions Trophy chasers Pembroke in fifth place, albeit with a couple of extra games played.

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