Top spot in the women’s EY Hockey League continues to be a hot potato as Loreto returned back above Old Alex and Pegasus in midweek with a big come-from-behind win over Railway Union.
They won 4-2 in the end thanks to three final quarter goals on Thursday night, denying Railway a third win of the campaign. Sara Twomey’s rebound from a corner switch move had given Loreto a 20th minute lead but Jenny Long tied things up by half-time with a deflection from a corner sweep.
And the Park Avenue hosts went in front three minutes into the second half when Lisa McCarthy picked out Martha McCready who beat a player before crossing into the path of Kate Lloyd who touched in.
They carried that lead into the final quarter but another corner goal saw Loreto level, Hannah Matthews reverting the ball to injector Hayley Mulcahy to finish off. Matthews went direct for 3-2 in the 61st minute and, with Railway going without a keeper for the closing minutes, Sarah Torrans added a final hooter corner.
Old Alex had taken the lead in the table last Saturday and looked well set to maintain that advantage on Thursday when a Hannah McDermott double put them two clear of UCD.
But a four-minute spell – between the 52nd and 56th minute – for the students saw them transform a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 win as they found the cutting-edge Miles Warren has been willing from them all season.
McDermott got the only goal of the first half with a cracking touch to Deirdre Duke’s strike and they looked well in control when the forward guided in another from a penalty corner.
UCD, though, were playing their part in a very good contest and the students were on the board via an absolute rocket from Edel Nyland just before the end of the third quarter.
They were level when Sarah Patton’s great run down the line was taken on by Sarah Young who drove at goal and Niamh Carey nipped in to get the final touch. Her twin Michelle then went direct down the middle and struck for 3-2 with 14 minutes left.
A day earlier, Pembroke got back on the winning trail for the first time since November. Like the other midweek games, it featured a comeback as Anna O’Flanagan put Muckross in front but Pembroke turned things around to succeed 3-1.
Leah McGuire equalised with her fourth goal since the turn of the year and Laura Noble made it 2-1 before half-time and they pushed on from there, Claire Foley closing out the results.
Muckross were without recent Irish call-up Ellie McLoughlin due to a concussion return to play protocol with Rachel Barnett deputising. In her first game for 18 months, she saved a stroke and will hope to put in more heroics this weekend. Next on their agenda is a date with UCD at Belfield on Saturday.
At the bottom, 10th placed Belfast Harlequins host ninth placed Railway Union in a vital match for their respective hopes of avoiding relegation. Quins have been left five points adrift and a loss would leave them with eight points to make up with just six games to go.
Railway have a game to catch-up on due to their indoor exploits and a win at Deramore could potentially get them back in range of the sides above them.
The rest of the games are in Dublin with 2.30pm starts at the peak of the scheduled rain from Storm Jorge which may have an impact with up to 5mm predicted in some parts.
Old Alex host in-form Cork Harlequins; Loreto play another side on a good streak, Catholic Institute, for whom Roisin Upton was named Limerick person of the year this week.
Pembroke are up against Pegasus who are hoping to welcome back Shirley McCay, Niamh McIvor and Charlotte Beggs who all missed last week’s trip to Limerick, only travelling with 12 players.
In Leinster Division One, Monkstown cut Corinthian’s lead to two points with their 11th successive win in the league, conceding just once in the last ten outings.
They beat Trinity 2-0 courtesy of a lovely goal on the half-hour via Sarah Greene and Emily Kealy to set up Sadhbh Hoban-Logan for the first goal and the clincher came with 15 minutes to go. That came via Amy Etherington’s corner slap which diving Rachel Moore dived onto.
Town aim to keep up the pressure when they go to Rathgar on Saturday; Corinthian travel to Mount Temple to face Clontarf aiming to keep their lead intact. Genesis host Avoca and North Kildare meet Naas in the Kildare derby.
EYHL Division 1
Wednesday: Muckross 1 (A O’Flanagan) Pembroke 3 (L McGuire, L Noble, C Foley)
Thursday: Old Alex 2 (H McDermott 2) UCD 3 (E Nyland, N Carey, M Carey); Railway Union 2 (K Lloyd, J Long) Loreto 4 (S Twomey, H Mulcahy, H Matthews, S Torrans)
Saturday: Belfast Harlequins v Railway Union, Deramore Park, 2.30pm; Loreto v Catholic Institute, Beaufort, 1.15pm; Old Alexandra v Cork Harlequins, Milltown, 2.30pm; Pembroke Wanderers v Pegasus, Serpentine Avenue, 2.30pm; UCD v Muckross, Belfield, 2.50pm
Leinster Division 1
Wednesday: Monkstown 2 (S Hoban-Logan, R Moore) Trinity 0
Saturday: Clontarf v Corinthian, Mount Temple, 2pm; Genesis v Avoca, St Raphaela’s, 3pm; North Kildare v Naas, The Maws, 2pm; Rathgar v Monkstown, The High School, 3.45pm
Munster Division 1
Postponed: UCC v Cork C of I; Belvedere v Bandon; Limerick v Waterford