Loreto move level with Pegasus as Sargent makes telling return

Women’s EYHL – day eight reports

UCD 2 (L Tice, M Carey) Catholic Institute (R Upton)

UCD moved back into the top four ahead of Pembroke with a lively 2-1 win over Catholic Institute in a tie played at great pace in Belfield with the international contingent shining despite their recent warm-weather camp in South Africa.

Lena Tice scored the perfect drag-flick to open the scoring in the first quarter and they were on the up with Edel Nyland – on debut for the club – went close just before the end of this phase.

Insta equalised from the penalty spot when Naomi Carroll wreaked havoc and Roisin Upton stepped up to score for 1-1. Tice then had to save one off the line and then had a goal disallowed as it remained level at the big break.

UCD stepped it up in the second half, creating some good chances  and they went in front from a great move with Nyland dropping the ball back to Niamh Carey and she set up her twin sister Michelle for what proved to be the winner.

Muckross 1 (A O’Flanagan) Pegasus 1 (A Speers)

Muckross stood their ground to land a big point, a result which saw Pegasus’s narrow lead at the top wiped out as Alex Speers and Anna O’Flanagan swapped goals. The Ulster side started off on the front foot with Ellie McLoughlin and Caroline Mathews scrambling to snuff out chances.

Pegasus went in front in the 22nd minute when Alex Speers sailed a shot into the top corner and they had a set piece chance to extend the lead snuffed out before Muckross replied. O’Flanagan picked up the ball at the head of the D and calmly slotted home. And they came close to moving 2-1 up on the half-time whistle after a corner scramble was just about cleared.

O’Flanagan  went close to another while Sophie Barnwell’s one-on-one chance with Megan Todd was denied too early in the second half before Pegasus came back into contention with Lucy McKee’s driving runs causing danger.

Kerri McDonald was brilliantly denied by McLoughlin and her next corner shot was charged down. They also hit the post as Muckross lived on their nerves but ultimately got the point.

Loreto 3 (A Meeke, L Mulcahy, H Mulcahy) Belfast Harlequins 1 (J Dennison)

Loreto joined Pegasus at the head of the women’s EY Hockey League table with a 3-1 win over Belfast Harlequins at Beaufort. Ali Meeke gave Loreto the perfect start with a goal from play and that advantage was bolstered when Lisa Mulcahy whipped home a powerful slap from a penalty corner for 2-0 at half-time.

Julie Dennison cracked a reply into the top of the goal early in the second half as Quins threatened a comeback but Hayley Mulcahy struck from a corner switch left for 3-1 to put the Dubliners in the clear at 3-1.

Old Alex 2 (D Duke, N Evans) Pembroke 1 (H O’Donnell)

International stars Deirdre Duke and Nikki Evans earned Old Alex a key win over Pembroke to jump up into third place, dropping Pembroke out of the top four for the first time this season. Alex handed a debut to former international hockey and rugby 7s international Audrey O’Flynn and they went closest in the early stages via Emilie Ryan Doyle.

Jeamie Deacon had a goal disallowed for height at corner time before both of the goals came in the minutes before half-time. Millie O’Donnell’s disguise pass from the top found Evans at the back post for the opening goal from a corner.

Old Alex’s post-match team huddle.

It was two when Emma Russell picked out the unmarked Hannah McDermott who selflessly tapped around the keeper for Duke to finish off a great team goal. Pembroke upped the ante and forced corners which Evans had to charge down; Sinead Loughran’s full-pitch run was only denied by Millie O’Donnell before Pembroke got one back from a Hayley O’Donnell corner but they could not find an equaliser and Alex had another win.

Cork Harlequins 2 (C Sargent, E Barber) Railway Union 0

Cork Harlequins welcomed the hugely experienced duo of Yvonne O’Byrne and Cliodhna Sargent to the line-up for the first time this season and it inspired them to a big 2-0 home win against Railway Union – their second win of the campaign.

Emma Barber got them up and running from a penalty corner in the first minute and Sargent then added another before the end of the first quarter – a mid-circle bash after two waves of shots – for a two-goal lead they would never relinquish.

They rode their luck in the second half as Railway had most of the ball and territory in the second half but, with the extra experience in defence, Quins stayed clear to put distance between themselves and the relegation spots.

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