Railway and Pegasus face big tussle in EYHL playoff race

Following last weekend’s frozen out fixtures, both Railway Union and Pegasus will be keen to avoid losing further ground on the playoff places when they meet at Park Avenue on Saturday.

Pegs will have to do without recently capped Robyn Chambers who has made the decision to step back from playing in favour of her career, according to the Belfast Telegraph.

It means the Ulster side will be shy a strong attacking force as they look to end a run of four games since their last league win. Railway overcame a sticky patch of their own in their last game, beating Ulster Elks after a run of three games without a point.

Pegasus and Railway Union meet in a repeat of last season's EYHL semi-finals. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Pegasus and Railway Union meet in a repeat of last season’s EYHL semi-finals. Pic: Adrian Boehm

The Carey twins continue to emerge as leading lights for the team, combining for seven goals between them this term with Cecelia Joyce, Julia O’Halloran and Emma Smyth using their experience to guide their way, making for a strong blend of youth and experience.

For them, they need to keep picking up points to keep in touch with the leaders and stay in the mix for a playoff place.

Pembroke’s tough start to the season faces another difficult day out as leaders Hermes-Monkstown make the short trip up the coast road. The Dublin 4 side have been going close in recent weeks with Orla Macken driving things on but this will be a huge task.

Hermes-Monkstown extended their lead out to four points last weekend with their comfortable win over the Ulster Elks with Anna O’Flanagan raising her personal tally for the season to 15 goals, seven more than the second highest scorer.

Ulster Elks welcome back Shirley McCay following her coaching role at the boys interpros a week ago. Danni Wilson is another who could return for their date with Loreto in Jordanstown as the student side look to try and pull away from the relegation places.

They meet a Loreto side who did not play last weekend due to the frost at Beaufort. Paul Fitzpatrick’s side have a steely edge to them to date, maintaining the second best defence to date and offering no one a free ride. A win will keep them in touch with the top four places.

At Ards, Cork Harlequins will look to get back on track after just one point from the last six available against their title rivals following a perfect start to the season with five wins on the spin.

Anna O'Flanagan's hat trick raised her tally to 16 goals already this season. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Anna O’Flanagan’s hat trick raised her tally to 16 goals already this season. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Ards, meanwhile, have been on something of a roll, winning four league games in succession with Chloe Brown – with eight goals to her name – netting each time to lift the side from the foot of the table to fourth. Victory would bring them within a point of the top three.

Belfast Harlequins host UCD in another of three games to be played in Ulster on Saturday, looking to end the students unbeaten run this season that stretches across league, cup and intervarsities.

Lena Tice has been a huge addition this season at the heart of things while Katie Mullan, Emma Russell and Sorcha Clarke’s goals have made them one of the most potent attacking forces.

In Leinster, it’s a busy couple of weeks with a number of refixes over the coming days in addition to the regular schedule. Leaders Old Alex face third place Glenanne in a crucial tie at the top. Rathgar have their work cut out to get their first points on the board against a Trinity side that has not lost in the league in over a year.

Muckross meet the rising force that is Corinthian who are unbeaten in four games. North Kildare play Rathgar on Sunday in a refix while Avoca play Muckross on Tuesday evening.

The Irish Hockey Trophy has YMCA, Our Lady’s, Avoca and Clontarf occupied on Saturday afternoon at the last 16 stage.

Women’s fixtures (all Saturday unless stated)
EY Hockey League: Railway Union v Pegasus, 2.15pm, Park Avenue; Ards v Cork Harlequins, 2.30pm, Londonderry Park; Ulster Elks v Loreto, 2.30pm, Jordanstown; Belfast Harlequins v UCD, 4pm, Deramore Park; Pembroke v Hermes-Monkstown, 4pm, Serpentine Avenue

Leinster Division One
Saturday: Old Alex v Glenanne, 1.15pm, Milltown; Rathgar v Trinity College, 2.15pm, High School; Muckross v Corinthian, 3pm, Muckross Park
Sunday: North Kildare v Rathgar, 2pm, The Maws
Tuesday: Avoca v Muckross, 7.45pm, Newpark

Irish Hockey Trophy, second round: Greenfields v Mossley, 3.30pm, Dangan; Portadown v YMCA, 2.30pm, Edenvilla; Rainey v Clonakilty, 2.30pm, Rainey Endowed; Bandon v Ashton, 2pm, Bandon GS; Our Lady’s v Avoca, 1.30pm, Terenure; Raphoe v Cork C of I, 12.30pm, Royal & Prior; Galway v Ballymena, 12pm, Dangan; NUIG v Clontarf, 2pm, Dangan

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