Title aspirations on line at Hermes-Loreto classico

The outside women’s Leinster division one title hopes of either Hermes or Loreto will likely be blown out of the water on Saturday when the two meet for the first time this season at Booterstown.

After a shaky start, Hermes have gone on to be one of the league’s form team with seven straight wins – the longest streak of any in the division – conceding just four times en route.

Loreto's Sinead McGirr and Hermes' Orla Patton are part of a new breed in a classic rivarly Pic: Adrian Boehm

Loreto’s Sinead McGirr and Hermes’ Orla Patton are part of a new breed in a classic rivarly Pic: Adrian Boehm

It has seen them rise to second place in the division, four points off the pace-setting UCD. While Jaimee Claxton’s side took a little while before they fully fired, the return of Aine Connery to navy has given them the attacking impetus they initially lacked.

It has also had a huge impact on the emergence of a couple of young stars like Orla and Sarah Patton and, especially, Sara Twomey whose calm assurance in midfield has earned her a full Irish call-up in spite of still being in school in Mount Anville.

With Audrey O’Flynn and Emma Gray also called up for the Irish women’s trip to Spain, it means they will certainly be out of their January 14 date when they are due to play UCD.

Loreto have call-ups of their own with Ali Meeke back in the international mix and they lie a point back in the Leinster table. It means that whichever side is to lose out on Saturday could find themselves up to seven points off the pace, leaving their hopes of making the gap well out of their control.

UCD’s task this weekend comes in the form of a Pembroke side who have been the only side outside the IHL places to defeat an IHL team year, a 1-0 win over Old Alex.

Since then, their new looks have found their games tight and evenly contested, finding Corinthian (1-1 in the cup before penalties) and Trinity (0-1) tough nuts to crack but still have a four point gap on Alex in fifth place.

For the students, the only blip on the horizon is that six players will be out of the running for that Hermes’ date in January though given the side of their international caps, this representation may be slightly on the modest side.

Nonetheless, their second team have impressed this season in division two to make the leap up in standard much smaller than previous years when called upon.

Alex will look to continue their progression up after two wins in succession for the first time this season and are buoyed by Emma Duncan’s elevation into the Irish senior setup.

Their task is a trip out to Kilcock to face North Kildare who are aiming to pick up their first point of the campaign.

Corinthian and Glenanne look set for an evenly matched tie at Whitechurch Park with the ever-improving Saoirse O’Donoghue lining out against her former club.

Three single goal defeats in succession in the league for the Glens have been a cause of frustration that they have not taken more from the sides in the top half of the division to go with their Irish Senior Cup heroics.

Loreto's Hannah Matthews

Loreto’s Hannah Matthews

Trinity, meanwhile, will look to tame a Railway Union side for whom Kate Lloyd has been handed to their roster of senior international panellists, the backhand expert called up for the Spanish trip along with Kate Dillon.

Division two reaches the halfway stage this weekend with Pembroke II guaranteed a sizeable mid-term lead as they start the weekend eight points clear.

They travel to Wesley to meet bottom ranked Trinity II who have proven hard to break down but struggle to find the net. Should Pembroke win, they will move to at least ten points clear.

In the race for top first team in the division, both Muckross and Genesis are on the road with the former going to Old Alex II while the latter are bound for Loreto II.

A win for Genesis would put them into a share of second place even though they slipped up against Three Rock last week, Sadie Lanigan’s first senior goal the only strike of their game.

Women’s Division One
UCD vs Pembroke, 12pm, Belfield; Corinthian vs Glenanne, 12.45pm, Whitechurch Park; Hermes vs Loreto, 1.15pm, Booterstown; Trinity vs Railway Union, 1.15pm, Wesley College; North Kildare vs Old Alex, 1.30pm, The Maws
Tuesday: Loreto vs Trinity, 8pm, Beaufort

Division Two, fixtures: Old Alex II vs Muckross, 1pm, Milltown; Hermes II vs Railway Union II, 3pm, Booterstown; Trinity II vs Pembroke II, 3.15pm, Wesley College; Loreto II vs Genesis, 4.15pm, Beaufort
Last Saturday’s results: Genesis 0 Three Rock Ladies 1 (Sadie Lanigan); Hermes II 2 Loreto II 2 (Laura Pomphrett, Roisin Ryan); Old Alex II 1 (Sylvia Gilsenan) Railway Union 2 (Camille Rantz McDonald, Julie McHugh); Muckross 1 (Sarah Green) Pembroke II 3 (Shona Doyle, Anna O’Neill, Katie Codyre)

Women's Leinster Senior Div 1