Loreto go clear as Alex continue their rise as major players in women’s EYHL

Women’s EY Hockey League

Cork Harlequins 1 (R Barry) Loreto 2 (S Torrans, S O’Brien)

Loreto moved top of the women’s EY Hockey League table for the first time as they struck twoce in the last 14 minutes to land a 2-1 win over Cork Harlequins at Farmers’ Cross.

Like a week before, Harlequins got off to a great start, winning early corners but chances were at a premium initially.

Catholic Institute’s Roisin Upton holds off Orla Macken. Pic: Adrian Boehm

The Dubliners – who were without Hannah Matthews – upped the ante at the start of the second quarter with Kate Murphy the busier goalkeeper before the hosts went ahead when Nikki Barry’s long corner found Michelle Barry who unleashed a reverse-stick cross which Rebecca Barry got a beautiful deflection to.

Loreto responded in kind and hit the post soon after but remained 1-0 behind until the final quarter when they eventually got level courtesy of a speedy counter-attack, finishing off by Sarah Torrans. Five minutes later and Siofra O’Brien had the winner when she profited on confusion at the heart of the Quins’ defence to score from play.

Pegasus 1 (K McDonald) Old Alex 2 (E Russell, R Evans)

Old Alex made it 10 points from the last 12 available to move into a share of second place with Pegasus, the side they beat on Saturday. Emma Russell’s first quarter goal following a move down the right wing put Alex in front and that lead was augmented when Rebecca Evans applied the scoring touch to a corner deflection move.

Kerri McDonald pulled one back in the third quarter with a corner strike of her own but no equaliser was forthcoming and Alex had their sixth win of a productive campaign. Both sides are now three points behind Loreto.

Belfast Harlequins 3 (S Barr, K Welshman, J Dennison) Muckross 3 (A O’Flanagan, S Cannon, S Barnwell)

Julie Dennison’s scrambled penalty corner finish on the final blow saw Belfast Harlequins grab their second point of the season, meaning Muckross had to settle for the fifth draw from nine outings this term.

Anna O’Flanagan put Muckross ahead in the eighth minute with a lovely defelction in front of the goalkeeper but it was annulled within three minutes by her international team mate Serena Barr with a textbook corner strike, Jenny McAuley winning the set piece.

Susie Cannon returned the Dubliners to the lead just before half-time, showing grit to get the ball over the line. Her side survived a spell down to nine players in the second half and went further clear early in the fourth quarter when Sophie Barnwell cleaned up off Suzie Taylor’s pads.

Katherine Welshman pulled one back to make it lively with 15 minutes to go and Quins carried that momentum on, winning a last minute corner that Barr swept goalward. It got have a stop from Ellie McLoughlin but injector Dennison eventually got a hold of the ball and flipped it in on her backhand.

UCD 3 (H McLoughlin, L Tice, E Nyland) Railway Union 0

UCD won a high-quality tussle at Belfield despite rough conditions to strengthen their place in the top four at the halfway stage. They led from the end of the first quarter when Hannah McLoughlin scored from a penalty corner that she won herself. Earlier, Railway had plenty of pressure, forcing Clodagh Cassin into a couple of big saves while Michelle Carey went close.

Very little separated the sides in the second and third quarter as penalty corners were traded back and forth. But the game was settled in the last five minutes with a couple of late goals, Lena Tice dragging in for 2-0 and Edel Nyland scored her first for the club into a keeper-less goal in the final minute.

Pembroke 1 (E Beatty) Catholic Institute 1 (C Moloney)

Catholic Institute picked up their fifth point of the season as fifth placed Pembroke’s wait for a first win since November goes on. Pembroke went in front in the seventh minute courtesy of a cracking goal from Emily Beatty.

But Insta were a strong match for the Dublin 4 side with Naomi Carroll drawing a great save from Aoife Glennon while Roisin Upton’s corner shot was also denied by a top stop just before half-time.

A couple more corners for the Limerick side came along, one of which was deflected in by Ciara Moloney for the equaliser with eight minutes to go. The result sees Insta remain in ninth place, chipping away at the gap to the likes of Cork Harlequins and Railway Union.

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