Late Mullan and Kerr goals keep earn UCD and Quins wins as Pegasus keep pressure on

Women’s EY Hockey League – day 11 round-up
Loreto 0 UCD 1 (K Mullan)
Katie Mullan’s 63rd minute drag-flick earned UCD another important away win to keep them four points clear at the top of the women’s EY Hockey League table.

The first half was very tight with neither side having a clear chance while Niamh Small and Mullan both drew green cards, indicative of the battle at hand.

The second half proved livelier as the tempo upped considerably. Both sides had corners in the third quarter with Alannah Carragher and Hannah Matthews combining to save well from Lena Tice while Loreto’s corner was charged down.

Nicci Daly also drew Clodagh Cassin off her line to make a fine save, keeping it level going into the final quarter. Matthews reverse drew a quality stop from Cassin from the next Loreto corner before the game was eventually settled by Mullan. Her drag took a deflection off a Loreto stick to leave Carragher stranded.

Loreto swapped their goalkeeper for an extra attacker for the remaining minutes but UCD ran down the clock well for a hard-fought win.

Ards 2 (A Benson, K Harvey) Hermes-Monkstown 1 (L Lloyd)
Ards fought back from a goal down at half-time to beat basement side Hermes-Monkstown, moving them into the top half of the table at the expense of Belfast Harlequins. Lily Lloyd’s early strike had the Dubliners 1-0 up as they looked to continue their much-improved recent form.

But Amy Benson equalised a minute into the second half when Naomi Grundie took a quick free and eliminatedthe goalkeeper before slipping a pass. And Kerry Harvey won it with just a few minutes to go for their fourth win of the campaign when she slapped into the roof of the net after Becky Weir’s excellent run set her up. Ards also featured club legend Janice Vaughn who came back out of retirement to fill in with a number of players unavailable.

Cork Harlequins 4 (N Carroll, R Barry, O Roycroft, N Kerr) Belfast Harlequins 3 (K Welshman 2, L Johnston)
For the second time this season, Cork Harlequins struck in the closing minutes against Belfast Harlequins to land something following an epic tussle. Earlier in the campaign, Roisin Upton scored with precious little time to go for a 3-3 draw.

This time it was Nicola Kerr who netted for a late winner, keeping the pressure on UCD at the top of the table. Naomi Carroll put them 1-0 up inside two minutes from play before Laura Johnston levelled nine minutes.

Rebecca Barry and Olivia Roycroft, however, stretched out a 3-1 lead at half-time. That advantage looked to be in good shape as they held that two-goal gap going into the final quarter but the Belfast side stormed back into contention with Katherine Welshman netting in both the 55th and 63rd minute. Quins, though, summoned their winner soon after and then rode out the final few minutes down to 10 players with Barry in the sin-bin for a seventh win in 11 outings.

Pegasus 2 (S Thompson, R Maguire) Pembroke 0
Pegasus made it five wins in succession to keep up their solid place in the top three and in line for a potentially massive date against UCD in March. Steph Thompson’s penalty corner deflection got them up and running in the third minute.

Ruth Maguire made it 2-0 before half-time from a penalty corner rebound following Hannah Grieve’s first up shot. And they remained in the clear for the rest of the tie, keeping them in third place, five points off top but with a game in hand to play against Belfast Harlequins.

Cork Harlequins Michelle Barry holds off Gemma Frazer. Picture: Munster Hockey (click for more pictures)

Trinity 0 Railway Union 2 (K Lloyd 2)
A Kate Lloyd goal early and late in the first half gave Railway Union a tidy 2-0 win over Trinity to move into fourth place in the women’s EY Hockey League and a potential Champions Trophy playoff spot.

She turned strong on her open side in the fourth minute to pick out the bottom corner for a very early lead. Railway had plenty of pressure in the first quarter with Emma Smyth going close, drawing a strong save from Carolyn Crampton. Kate McKenna hit the post with Jenny Long clearing up the next chance.

Sally Campbell’s cross flashing across the face of goal was the best of Trinity’s first half chances. Railway moved 2-0 up with the final play of the first half from a corner which was saved twice but Holly Jenkinson cleverly swept to the left post where Lloyd tapped in.

Trinity had a much better third quarter with Ellie Noone leading the charge, drawing a couple of good stops from Grace O’Flanagan. Erika Markey fired over the bar while Railway had the chance to the game safer from the penalty spot but Crampton saved well.

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