Late goals galore saw the top five all win in the women’s EY Hockey League with UCD continuing to lead the way with Cork Harlequins and Pegasus in hot pursuit.
For the students, Katie Mullan struck just seven minutes from time to earn them a 1-0 win over Loreto at Beaufort in a south Dublin derby. It was incredibly evenly contested battle with chances few and far between in the first half before it opened out in the second.
Hannah Matthews had gone close for Loreto, drawing a stunning save from Clodagh Cassin moments before Mullan’s deflected corner strike won the day.
Cork Harlequins beat their Belfast namesakes 4-3 with Nicola Kerr scoring their winner with five minutes to go. Goals from Naomi Carroll, Rebecca Barry and Olivia Roycroft had them flying at 3-1 at half-time but Belfast Quins fought back with Katherine Welshman scoring twice in quick succession to make it 3-3 with seven minutes left. But Kerr got the decsive score and they remain second, four points off UCD.
Pegasus got their fifth win in a row when they beat Pembroke 2-0, Steph Thompson and Ruth Maguire netting from penalty corner moves in the first half. The result has them in third place, five points off top spot but with a game in hand, meaning their date with UCD in March could be a pivotal one.
Kate Lloyd scored twice in the first half for Railway Union as they recorded a 2-0 win over Trinity, meaning they stay in a potential EY Champions Trophy playoff place – depending on the outcome of the Irish Senior Cup.
Ards are just two points off them thanks to their comeback 2-1 win over bottom side Hermes-Monkstown. The Dubliners had led at half-time courtesy of a Lily Lloyd goal but Amy Benson and Kerry Harvey turned things around in the second half.
Women’s EY Hockey League: Loreto 0 UCD 1 (K Mullan); Trinity 0 Railway Union 2 (K Lloyd 2); Ards 2 (A Benson, K Harvey) Hermes-Monkstown 1 (L Lloyd); Cork Harlequins 4 (N Carroll, R Barry, O Roycroft, N Kerr) Belfast Harlequins 3 (K Welshman 2, L Johnston); Pegasus 2 (S Thompson, R Maguire) Pembroke 0
Day 11 extended reports
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 in the third quarter and Kerry Harvey won it with just a few minutes to go for their fourth win of the campaign.
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 wih 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.
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.