Irish club hockey endured mixed fortunes on the European front yesterday after a weekend to remember for women’s clubs Railway Union and UCD was contrasted with the travails of Cork Harlequins on the men’s side.
Railway Union and UCD are looking forward to medal matches in their respective EuroHockey Club Champions competition but Cork Harlequins have a huge battle on their hands if they are to maintain Ireland’s place in the EuroHockey League.
UCD qualified for one of the finals of the EuroHockey Club Champions Challenge I in Catania with a game to spare as they saw off the hosts 3-2; Railway’s win over Sumchanka boosts their medal hopes but Cork Harlequins fall to second defeat
Jeamie Deacon fired a winner to give UCD a perfect start to their European club campaign with victory over Scotland’s Grove Menzieshill; Railway Union were undone by Real Sociedad while Cork Harlequins fell to HC Bra
Nikki Keegan’s coolly taken silver goal penalty stroke saw Loreto take up the first place in Sunday’s Irish Hockey League final in Grange Road, eventually overhauling a game Ards; Railway Union dismissed UCD on penalties to keep the double shot going
Returning to the scene of their greatest triumph, Loreto look to be the side to beat this weekend as the women’s Electric Ireland Irish Hockey League finals reach critical mass at Grange Road this weekend.
Loreto, Railway Union, UCD and Ards claimed the women’s Irish Hockey League semi-final spots on a dramatic fifth round of group matches in which Ballymoney saw their final four hopes taken away from them
In stark contrast to the final round of the men’s Irish Hockey League, the permutations abound on the women’s side with eight sides still in the running for the four semi-final berths, making for a thrilling final weekend of the pool stages.
While the women’s Irish Hockey League’s Pool A was initially labelled the ‘Group of Death’, Ards shock win over UCD means Pool B is the most open of the competition with all six sides harbouring hopes of a final four spot.
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