Loreto end on a high to boost Irish hopes of retaining top tier place

Loreto gave Ireland’s hopes of retaining their place at the top table of European hockey a big boost as two goals in a 35 second spell saw them beat Belarus’s Ritm Grodno 2-1 in Amsterdam.

It earned the Dubliners a seventh place finish at the EuroHockey Club Cup which, in tandem with UCD’s fourth place in the second tier Trophy, should keep Ireland’s clubs at the same level for 2020.

For Loreto, they trailed 1-0 to a heavily mishit shot from Grodno’s Lizaveta Skurat whose shot deceived the dive of Liz Murphy.

But the Dubliners fought back in excellent style and were level 50 seconds before half-time when Hannah Matthews flicked in a corner rebound from mid-circle.

Sarah Torrans was then credited with the next with 15 seconds showing on the timer before the break when she followed up Siofra O’Brien’s cracking first up strike.

It remained 2-1 through to the finish as Loreto saw out the game in bizarre fashion, foregoing a penalty corner shot in favour of running the ball to the corner for the last 20 seconds.

Retaining top tier status is particularly important this year as the competition will transform in 2020 under the Euro Hockey League umbrella with a commitment to equal prize money and television coverage to the current men’s competition.

Elsewhere, in the competition, Katie Mullan landed a bronze medal as Club an der Alster beat Den Bosch in their third place playoff. UHC Hamburg, featuring Nikki Evans, ended fifth overall.

For UCD, their promising campaign ended on a low note as they lost to a star-studded Waterloo Ducks side who featured several Belgian and Spanish internationals.

They lost 2-0, conceding late in both halves to finish fourth overall but – in the absence of star player Lena Tice – can reflect on a good campaign.

They beat Scottish champions Edinburgh University 5-1 and drew with English finalists Holcombe 1-1 before falling 3-2 to Dinamo Moscow on Sunday.

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