UCC retained EYHL2 status last weekend when they became the first team to beat Catholic Institute on the final day of the Munster league season.
Fielding a much-changed side this term, the students improved massively over the course of the season having lost their first four ties of the campaign across EYHL2 and Munster Division One.Indeed, they had dropped just one point of their last 36 to see them overhaul Ashton and then Cork C of I in the jostle for second place in the province.
They went into the final tie needing a point to secure outright second spot but were facing an Insta side looking to complete a 100% record from their season. UCC were without top scorer Aoife Collins while the Limerick side were missing Roisin Upton and Laura Foley.
UCC started off on top and, from a series of short corners, a stroke resulted on the half-time whistle which was calmly converted by Aebhfhinn Bourke.
Insta fought back in the second half and were level via Eimear Ryan with 20 minutes to go as the game ebbed and flowed. UCC goalkeeper Hannah Humphries was called on to make some crucial saves to keep it level.
And then, with six minutes to go, Lauren Ryan popped up with the winner from a corner. She came close to snatching a third soon after but it was not required as they saw out the tie 2-1.
It means they will definitely play in EYHL2 next season. Should Catholic Institute earn promotion via the playoffs, Cork C of I could be the beneficiaries of Munster’s second EYHL2 spot for next season.