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Annadale and UCD produce mighty comebacks in men’s EYHL

Men’s EY Hockey League – day five round-up
Annadale 3 (O McElhinney 2, A Lyons) Monkstown 3 (D Carson, R Nichols, D Nolan)

Annadale produced a remarkable comeback from 3-0 down to record their fourth draw of the campaign. Monkstown looked to be gliding to a third win of the season in the early stages. Mark Gibbons hit the post in the seventh minute from turnover ball deep in Dale territory.

But they only had to wait until the ninth minute when John Guilfoyle picked up a loose ball and fed Davy Carson who scored on his backhand. Rory Nichols nailed Town’s only corner of the match for a 2-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

David Nolan finished off a stunning team goal, started at the back and going through over 10 passing interchanges as Town looked set for an easy afternoon.

Hints it would not be so simple came just before half-time when Dale had four penalty corners in quick succession which were repelled. The hosts had lots of pressure in the second half and they were rewarded when Owen McElhinney turned in a cross from the left flank.

With Town going into card trouble, it was game on when Allen Lyons weaved his way out of some tackles and flicked in. The comeback was complete deep into the final quarter when Tim Cross fed Patrick Rose on the baseline and he centred for McElhinney to sweep in for 3-3.

UCD 3 (E Ramsay 2, J Menelaou) YMCA 3 (S Hyland 2, B O’Grady)
UCD snatched their first point of the season as they scored three second half penalty corners to come back from 2-0 and 3-1 down against YMCA at Belfield.

YM got off to a great start when Ben O’Grady dragged in a corner in the first quarter and Sam Hyland – fresh from his international debut in midweek – slapped home from the right of the circle after a swift overlapping run down the right.

Matthew Hoolohan-O’Brien kept his side just about in it with some corner stops to keep it at 2-0 into half-time.

The students, though, started to run up a healthy corner count and were back in it when a switch left was then slapped into the middle with Ewan Ramsay credited with the goal.

YM went back into a 3-1 lead in the fourth quarter from a Hyland stroke after Fionn Marriott was bundled over. But UCD replied within a minute with another corner variation, Ramsay again lurking around the flick spot to deflect in.

Jay Menelaou then got the equaliser when yet another corner hit the post and rebounded to him on the right to finish off his first goal for collidge. There was still time for them to earn another corner which YM defended well along with another chance from play while the Y were left to rue a huge chance in the last 10 seconds but Ross Henderson could not get enough purchase on his shot from Marriott’s driving run.

Glenanne 3 (S Boucher, S O’Donoghue, G Gibney) Banbridge 1 (C Curry)
Glenanne made it five wins in succession to maintain their perfect start to the season and five-point gap to the chasing pack. Shannon Boucher got the tie up and running with a third minute penalty corner goal but Bann responded immediately via Chris Curry – 1-1 after four minutes.

It was a very evenly contested tie after that but Glenanne landed the crucial blows with Gavin Gibney getting his first of the season in the second half before Shane O’Donoghue made the game safe with his ninth goal of the campaign in the fourth quarter.

Three Rock Rovers Jody Hosking gets away from Corinthian’s Robbie Clarke. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Corinthian 1 (I Stewart) Three Rock Rovers 4 (R Canning 2, A Empey, E Jennings)
Three Rock Rovers bounced back from their Euro Hockey League campaign in strong fashion to continue their unbeaten start to the men’s EY Hockey League, winning the Dublin 16 derby.

Quick finishes in the circles early in the first quarter from Ross Canning and Ali Empey had the visitors flying high at Whitechurch Park. At this stage, Rovers had more of the play but Ian Stewart scored via a deflection off Ben Ryder trying to cover to put the game back in the balance at half-time

Both sides played rather cautiously until quarter 4 when Corinthian took off their goalkeeper as they pressed for an equaliser.

But a defensive error let in Evan Jennings and he scored into an empty net; Canning then finished off a good move after Thornton had made a reappearance.

Pembroke 0 Lisnagarvey 3 (J Lorimer, O Kidd, B Nelson)
Lisnagarvey made it three wins in succession to rise to third place in the table as Pembroke remain in search of their first win of the campaign. After a scoreless first half, James Lorimer dragged in the first goal in the third quarter for 1-0.

Ollie Kidd then volleyed over Mark Ingram for the second and Ben Nelson concluded the victory with three minutes remaining.

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Pegasus move clear at top of women’s EYHL after thrilling win over Catholic Institute

Women’s EY Hockey League – day five round-up
Pegasus 2 (L McKee, S McCay) Catholic Institute 1 (N Carroll)

Shirley McCay’s late winner sealed Pegasus a hard fought 2-1 victory over Catholic Institute which saw the Belfast side move a point clear at the top of the EYHL standings.

It was a thrilling encounter at the Dub and evenly contested for most of the game after Pegasus had been on top in the opening quarter.

But Pegasus owed a debt of gratitude to goalkeeper Megan Todd who brought off two outstanding saves on either side of McCay’s 56th minute winner.

The hosts had the edge in the opening quarter without being able to capitalise on three penalty corners.

From then on it was end-to-end stuff and Hannah Kelly shot narrowly wide before Naomi Carroll’s effort struck the post after a swift counter instigated by Leah Clery.

Pegasus broke the deadlock in the 31st minute when Lucy McKee scored with a first time shot after a lovely passing move down the left flank.

Pegasus celebrate Shirley McCay’s winning goal. Picture: Billy Pollock

Laura Foley went close to levelling for the Limerick side a minute later after a swift move which saw team captain and Ireland star Roisin Upton feed Eimear Ryan to set up the chance but Todd made a great save.

But she was beaten when Carroll equalised in the 42nd minute with a carbon copy of the Pegasus opener, the Olympian firing home from close range after a good move down the left in which Kelly was prominent.

Carroll almost made it 2-1 in the 51st minute from a set-piece switch but Todd was equal to the task in the final play of the third quarter.

Ireland’s most-capped player McCay blasted in what turned out to be the decisive goal in the first minute of the final quarter, slapping the ball low into the net from her team’s fifth penalty corner.

Sixty seconds later, Todd again excelled herself with a fine stop after Foley had controlled the ball at the edge of the D before firing in a powerful backhand shot.

The game continued to swing from end-to-end but Pegasus held on, Lucy McKee displaying some fine ball retention in the left-hand corner to wind the clock down to bring the conclusion to a memorable tussle which was a credit to both teams.


Railway Union 0 Pembroke 1 (G Pinder)

Gillian Pinder’s third quarter goal got Pembroke back to winning ways and within one point of leaders Pegasus thanks to their narrow win over Sandymount rivals Railway Union.

The tie opened up with end-to-end hockey with lots of opportunities. Railway had a promising effort with a ball played from Jenny Long into an open Katie Fearon who shot just wide of the far post. Shortly after, Pembroke overturned Railway outlet and Sally Campbell struck a reverse, floating over the goal
Fearon went close on the reverse after good build-up play from Ali O’Leary while both sides had corner chances repelled.

Into the second quarter, Emily Beatty drew a confident clearance from Riona Norton as defences – aided by some super tackling – were on top into half-time.

The key moment came early in Q3 when Pinder intercepted a Railway pass between wing back and centre back at the half way line.

This led to a foot race with pacey Pinder netting under the outcoming keeper Norton. Pembroke looked poised and in control for much of Q3, steadying the game.

In the final quarter, Sarah Hawkshaw created lots of danger with her direct dribbling at the intensity increased and both sides dropped to 10 players at a time.
Kate Lloyd was denied by the impressive Emma Buckley on her backhand while while a corner chance went through their grasp in rousing finish with Railway on the front foot.

Catholic Institute’s Naomi Carroll scores an equaliser. Picture: Billy Pollock

Loreto 4 (A Taaffe 2, N Torrans, C Hamill) Belfast Harlequins 1 (J Watt)
Loreto extended their unbeaten run to four games with a comfortable 4-1 win over Belfast Harlequins at Beaufort. Aoife Taaffe’s strong finish and a first of the season from Nicola Torrans put them two clear at the end of the first quarter.

Taaffe added another for her fourth goal of the campaign before half-time and they never looked likely to let that lead slip. Chirstina Hamill made a wealth of fourth quarter pressure count for 4-0 before Jenna Watt got one back from a penalty corner deflection move with three minutes to go.

Muckross 0 Old Alexandra 1 (D Duke)

Deirdre Duke’s first goal of the season from Old Alex’s second corner of the game was the difference as the Milltown club move into a share second spot after five rounds of matches.

It followed a lively start with chances at each end with close shaves aplenty. Aoife Glennon produced an excellent save to keep out Alex’s first corner but Alex prevailed from the follow-up with Duke – who is working her way back after injury – getting the all-important touch.

It was breathless stuff with momentum ebbing and flowing with both sides enjoying spells of greater pressure. Both also had a number of corner chances but no further one could be taken and so Alex prevailed by the single goal. It lifts them to 10 points, equal with Pembroke and UCD and one point behind Pegasus.

Cork Harlequins 0 UCD 9 (H McLoughlin 4, S Thomas 2, N Carey, K Egan, R Kelly)
UCD were convincing winners against Cork Harlequins at a sun-drenched Farmers Cross. The first half was a closely fought affair with both teams playing flowing hockey; Harlequins were unlucky not to take the lead as a Michelle Barry deflection from a short corner went narrowly wide.

In the last minute of the first half, UCD made the breakthrough that changed the momentum of the tie. Following good work along the baseline, a cross found Niamh Carey unmarked at the back post, she made no mistake to give College the lead.

From the restart, UCD went on the attack and a shot from the top of the circle was prevented from entering the net by back-stick. Hannah McLoughlin slotted the resulting stroke to leave UCD 2-0 up at half-time.

The strong tackling and excellent work-rate prevented Harlequins regaining a foothold in the game. With confident passing and good execution on short corners, UCD ran out deserving 9-0 winners – McLoughlin adding three goals to her earlier stroke with Sophie Thomas, Katherine Egan and Rachel Kelly on the mark, too.

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Top two face off in women’s EYHL – weekend preview and fixtures

With Saturday rivals Pegasus and Catholic Institute set to face off at Queen’s, the top of the women’s EY Hockey League is set for another shake-up once again.

The two sides share first place on eight points after four rounds with a gaggle of four waiting in the wings a point back on seven as the competition takes on a hugely competitive early form.

For Insta, back-to-back wins over Muckross and Harlequins has the Limerick side flying high, doing so off the back of a miserly defence that has conceded just twice to date with Pam Smithwick notching three clean sheets.

Youngster Leah Clery has provided the ammunition up top, netting half of their six goals in what looks like a break-out season for her.

Pegasus, meanwhile, have played out four similarly close ties with never more than a single goal in the difference. A young gun to watch so far has been Ella Armstrong.

Of the close chasers, Railway Union and Pembroke meet in the Sandymount derby with both aiming to build on productive starts. Orla Macken is the dynamo at the heart of Pembroke’s midfield and comes up against her youth club for whom Kate Lloyd has been a constant threat up to.

Old Alex got back to winning ways last weekend against Pembroke and were bouyed by a first appearance of the campaign from Deirdre Duke after a foot injury. Lena Tice has missed the last few weeks, too, but could come back into the fray soon.

Their next task is a game against Muckross who are looking for a first win. The diminutive Julia Balcerzak has proven an excellent performer since her arrival from Poland and is one to watch.

Cork Harlequins are another side going for a first win with their developing side. Michelle Barry’s return last weekend was a big plus and they will need her and Yvonne O’Byrne on form to keep a talented UCD at bay.

Loreto host Belfast Harlequins at Beaufort in the day’s other contest, the latter bouyed by the form of Jane Kilpatrick in defence who has recently joined the senior Irish women’s training panel.

Sunday sees a healthy selection of interprovincial contests with Connacht facing Leinster in Athlone at Under-21, 18 and 16 level while Leinster South take on Munster in Kilkenny at 18s and 16s.

On the men’s side, Glenanne’s perfect record will be put to the test by Banbridge at St Andrew’s. For Bann, key man Jonny McKee picked up a concerning injury late on Tuesday night for Ireland against Malaysia.

For the Glens, they have already amassed a five-point lead with Shane O’Donoghue’s eight goals in four games putting him top of the goalscoring charts. With David Lawless impressing between the posts and Kevin Venter looking a very handy addition, they are going well at this stage.

The Marlay derby sees Corinthian and Three Rock Rovers face off at Whitechurch Park with both sides on seven points. The reds have enjoyed a super start to the campaign with Chad Futcher an inspired signing with his long aerial bombs and drag-flicking prowess.

For Rovers, they are unbeaten domestically but were given a reality check at the Euro Hockey League last weekend in Belgium, falling to Belarussian and English opposition.

Pembroke will hope to surprise Lisnagarvey at Serpentine Avenue to try and land a first win of the season. Despite their tricky start, new captain Julian Dale has been in inspired form, scoring seven times in four outings but they need to start keeping it tight at the back against one of the most potent attacking forces.

Annadale are another side looking to turn draws into victories as they welcome Monkstown to Lagan College. UCD, meanwhile, have had a rough start to the campaign but will aim to put it up to YMCA who have not won since the opening day of the season.

Elsewhere, there is action in the Irish Hockey Challenge with 10 teams playing on day one of the group phases.

Saturday 9th October 2021
Men
EYHL Division 1:
Annadale v Monkstown, Lagan College, 2.30pm; Corinthian v Three Rock Rovers, Whitechurch Park, 3.15pm; Glenanne v Banbridge, St. Andrews College, 3pm; Pembroke v Lisnagarvey, Serpentine Avenue, 3pm; UCD v YMCA, Belfield, 1pm

Irish Hockey Challenge
Group 1:
Mullingar v Galway, Loreto College Mullingar, 1pm
Group 2: Naas v Waterford, Naas SC, 3.30pm; Wicklow v Midleton, East Glendalough, 1pm
Group 3: Antrim v Saintfield, Antrim Forum LC, 2.30pm; Armagh v Portrush, Ardmore, 1pm

Women
EYHL Division 1:
Cork Harlequins v UCD, Farmers’ Cross, 12.45pm; Loreto v Belfast Harlequins, Beaufort, 2.45pm; Muckross v Old Alexandra, Three Rock Rovers, 1pm; Pegasus v Catholic Institute, Queens University, 2.30pm; Railway Union v Pembroke Wanderers, Park Avenue, 1.30pm

Irish Hockey Challenge – Round 1: Botanic v NUIG 2, Botanic Holy Faith Glasnevin, 12.30pm; Cork Wanderers v Tipperary, 2.45pm; Galway 2 v Athlone, Dangan, 1pm; Wicklow v Limerick, East Glendalough School, 3pm

Sunday 10th October 2021
Women
Under-16 Interpros:
Leinster South v Munster, Loreto Kilkenny, 12pm; Connacht v Leinster, Athlone RC, 1pm
Under-18 Interpros: Leinster South v Munster, Loreto Kilkenny, 2pm; Connacht v Leinster, Athlone Regioal Centre, 3pm
Under-21 interpros: Connacht v Leinster, Athlone Regional Centre, 5pm

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Tickets – Ireland vs Malaysia

Tickets – Ireland vs Malaysia

Ireland’s men will play Malaysia on October 5 (6.30pm) and October 6 (6.30pm) at Lisnagarvey in the first capped international match to be played in Ireland since 2019. Tickets are available to purchase at the links below.

Tickets: €12 per match (each ticket entitles adult bearer to bring up to four children free of charge)

Under-12s must be accompanied by an adult; it is not possible to enter a quantity for the Under-12s without an adult ticket selected.



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Insta into share of top with six sides covered by just a single point

Women’s EY Hockey League day four round-up
Cork Harlequins 0 Catholic Institute 2 (N Carroll, L Clery)

Catholic Institute prevailed in the all-Munster derby in a tight encounter at Farmer’s Cross, moving them into a share of the lead after four rounds of matches.

Current internationals and Olympians Róisín Upton and Naomi Carroll were joined by former Irish players Pamela Smithwick and the dynamic Rebecca Barry in the Institute side.

Harlequins welcomed back captain Michelle Barry after illness to join the experienced Yvonne O’Byrne in midfield for Cork Harlequins. A scoreless first quarter saw Institute with the majority of chances.

Harlequins began to get a better footing in the game and would have been disappointed to concede a corner just before the end of the second quarter that gave Institute the edge going into half time. A well worked routine saw Naomi Carroll deflect the ball giving Harlequins’ Lorna Bateman no chance in goal.

Catholic Institute doubled their lead in the third quarter when a powerful breakaway was finished at close range by the energetic Leah Clery. Both teams squandered further chances as the game opened up, but Institute maintained their lead to give them a deserved win in this first Munster derby.

Muckross 1 (S Barnwell) Railway Union 2 (L Lloyd, K Fearon)

Railway Union got back to winning ways, emerging with the spoils from Grange Road from a corner battle with all three goals coming from the set piece. The first half saw Railway start on the front foot but Muckross replied in kind with plenty of their own attacks and a corner a piece before half-time.

The scoring began in the second period with Lily Lloyd netting early in the third quarter from a smart double-deflection move, going right before switching it left into her path in front of goal.

And Katie Fearon grabbed the next in the same phase, this time finishing off breaking ball from the injector’s spot from a scrappy corner that was initially blocked.

UCD’s Grace Keane celebrates a goal against Belfast Harlequins. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Sophie Barnwell pulled one on the three-quarter time whistle with a deft touch to Julia Blacerzak’s corner sweep to keep the game very much in the balance going into the last quarter.

Balcerzak did flash a shot across goal while Kim Baker also went close but Railway survived those efforts and then had a series of corners to copper-fasten the tie but 2-1 proved enough.

UCD 5 (G Keane, K Egan, H McLoughlin, S McAuley, S Cole) Belfast Harlequins 0

UCD moved into a share of third place as part of a group of teams on seven points thanks to their second win of the season. They led from the first quarter with Grace Keane applying a lovely finish from open play to get the ball rolling.

It remained that way until half-time before they really cut loose. Katherine Egan double lead and a corner goal from Hannah McLoughlin all but assured the points. Sarah McAuley got in on the act with her first goal since joining the student club and Sophia Cole completed the rout.

Pembroke 0 Old Alex 1 (E Russell)

Emma Russell got the only goal of the game as Old Alex got back to winning ways while Pembroke fell to their first loss of the season.

The early stages saw plenty of action with Mikayla Power’s strong shot drawing the best from Emma Buckley down low and the youngster also won a corner soon after. It was end to end stuff with the main chances coming from the set piece.

Pembroke’s best of the first half saw Emily Beatty pounce on a ball in midfield, slip to Sally Campbell whose long pass to Aisling Naughton ended with the ball flashing wide from a great move.

More corner openings came and went in the third quarter before the sole goal arrived just before the end of the third quarter. Jessica McGirr sent a shot across the face of goal where Russell was in the right place to send it home.

They were hungry for more at that stage with Leah McGuire making vital interventions to keep out Abbie Russell a couple of times. Emma Russell also had a great effort rebound off the frame of the goal before Pembroke came on strong in the closing stages, winning a couple of corners but to no avail.

Loreto 0 Pegasus 0

Pegasus remain in a share of top spot but with a different opponent following a 0-0 draw with Loreto saw them stay in pole position, now alongside Catholic Institute rather than Pembroke.

It was a scrappy, even game with chances at a premium throughout. The first penalty corners took until the final quarter to arrive with Pegs winning the first couple which Loreto snuffed out while Christin Hamill got the first for the Beaufort club in the closing stages but it deflected off a Pegasus stick to bounce out to safety.

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Glenanne move five clear in men’s EY Hockey League

Men’s EY Hockey League – day four round-up
Banbridge 4 (J McKee, L Rowe, S Farson, M Cowan) Pembroke 4 (J Dale 3, I Johnson)

Pembroke picked up their first point of the season as Julian Dale continued his impressive run of form, netting a hat trick. He grabbed the first from a corner flick in the second quarter before Bann fought back went in front with Jonny McKee netting a penalty stroke after his own run was cut short.

Then Louis Rowe tapped in after a fantastic interchange with Peter Brown and McKee. Isaac Johnson, though, ensured it was level at half-time with his first EYHL goal – on the same day his brother Ben got a first EHL goal for Three Rock Rovers.

Bann were in front again when Mark Cowan slotted from mid-circle after some silky skills from Brown but Dale’s second drag of the day tied it for a third time.

Sam Farson put the hosts in front for a third time from a short corner but Dale had the final word when he slapped home.

YMCA 2 (S Hyland, G Glutz) Annadale 2 (R Davidson, A McAllister)
Grant Glutz salvaged a point for YMCA as they eventually made their corner machine work in the closing minutes after Anandale had twice led at Wesley College.

After an even first quarter, Annadale took the lead on the counter following a brilliant inch perfect through ball from Tim Cross who found Samuel Porter-Samuels in the D and he drew the keeper and then squared for Robbie Davidson to slot into an open goal.

For the remainder of the quarter, YM battled back well but saw a series of corners shut out as Annadale held strong. The pattern was similar in Q3 with YM having the majority of possession but were mostly restricted to crash balls into circle while Annadale continued to look dangerous on counter.

Into Q4 and YM equalised after a Glutz short corner was saved but only as far as Sam Hyland who rebounded well. The hosts initially looked the more likely to push on but Dale pounced again with five minutes to go with Adam McCallister finding space in the middle of the circle to score for a second week in a row.

YM immediately pulled keeper but then quickly got a yellow card to negate the man advantage outfield. Nonetheless, they got another corner which Glutz planted low into the backboard.

UCD’s Ewan Ramsay and Glenanne’s Kevin Venter battle for possession. Picture: Adrian Boehm

Monkstown 1 (R Nichols) Corinthian 2 (C Futcher, I Stewart)
Ian Stewart’s brilliant finish with 11 minutes to go earned Corinthian their first win of the season, coming from a goal down to beat Monkstown at Rathdown.

There was precious little between the sides in the first half which ended scoreless. Rory Nichols third goal of the week put Monkstown 1-0 up from a corner six minutes into the second half but it was countered quickly by Chad Futcher who continued his goal a game start to the season.

That set up a lively closing. From a mammoth overhead, Stewart was set free and while he initially seemed to take the ball to a more difficult angle, he applied an excellent upright reverse-stick shot for the crucial goal.

UCD 0 Glenanne 6 (S O’Donoghue 3, R Couse, B Venter, G Shaw)
Glenanne made it four wins in succession to move five points clear at the top of the men’s EY Hockey League with Shane O’Donoghue raising his total to eight goals in four games this term.

It leaves UCD as the last time left without a point from the current campaign but they started well in the first quarter. However, against the run of play, the Glens won a stroke which O’Donoghue converted. He added a corner goal before the end of the first quarter and there was no real doubt where the points were heading after that.

A second stroke in the second quarter extended the lead to 3-0 at half-time. Richard Couse, Brad Venter and Gary Shaw weighed in with further goals in the second half for a handsome win.

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Pembroke and Pegasus on the march in women’s EYHL

Women’s EY Hockey Legaue – day three round-up
UCD 1 (M Carey) Pembroke 2 (A Naughton, O Macken)

Pembroke came back from a goal down in the final quarter to beat UCD and continue their excellent start to the season, leaving them in a share for the lead with Pegasus after three rounds.

It was a tie featuring numerous players who had lined out for the opposing side at different times in their recent past with Pembroke fielding five ex-UCD players while Emma Paul and Katie-Jane Marshall faced their youth club.

It was one of those alumni, Emily Beatty, whose steal almost unlocked the door with the first real chance before UCD had their big first half opportunity with Katherine Egan was impeded while shooting. From the following stroke, though, Egan did not catch her shot fully and Emma Buckley was able to save.

And so it remained scoreless into the third quarter after a couple of corners for each side as Ellen Curran controlled Pembroke’s midfield while Niamh Carey was on song for UCD.

The students went in front when Paul’s swept corner shot was deflected in artfully by Michelle Carey but Pembroke were back on terms in the final quarter. Aisling Naughton profited from a mistake in the UCD defence, reacting in a flash to make it 1-1.

Sally Campbell was denied by Ellie McLoughlin soon after and the winner arrived with seven minutes to go. Sinead Loughran won a corner which Orla Macken thumped home for a 2-1 lead and they held on despite plenty of late pressure.

Railway Union 1 (K Lloyd) Pegasus 2 (A Speers, E Quinn)
Emma Quinn’s 67th minute goal saw Pegasus make it two wins in four days and keep them in a share of the lead with seven points out of nine to date.

The Ulster side started the match at a high tempo in the first quarter and won a number of penalty corners that looked promising, one in particular denied well by Holly Jenkinson.

They went in front when a lifted reception in the circle from Alex Speers – against her old club – led to a goalmouth scramble, Speers eventually batting into the goal

Railway lifted their energy and tempo in the second quarter and a well-worked run and persistence from Niamh Shaw led to a ball across the goal with a textbook finish from Kate Lloyd on the backpost to make it 1-1.

The hosts looked the more threatening for much of the second half. With forward pressure, Railway turned over several Pegasus outlets leading to a number of corner opportunities and circle entries but to no ultimate avail.

Pegasus held their defence, absorbing Railway’s pressure for much of the second half and they eventually got the sucker punch when they took a quick free which led to a counter-attack and a corner. Shirley McCay pushed it at goal which offered up the chance for Quinn to get the decisive touch.

Old Alex 1 (M Power) Loreto 4 (R Fitzpatrick, S Torrans, S O’Brien, G Donald)
Loreto picked up their first win of the season with an outstanding performance as their young guns took inspiration from the return of Hannah Matthews. The Olympian was back in the side after an almost three-week Covid-enforced break but she played a strong role in midfield and they looked good value for the points.

The Beaufort side’s press worked well in the first half and it was from a loose ball around the back from Alex – for whom Lena Tice sat out due to a tight hamstring – with Rebecca Fitzpatrick nipping in to slide home on her backhand. It was her first EYHL goal having made her debut on Wednesday.

Their general play might well have deserved a second goal before half-time but Holly Micklem was outstanding between the posts. They had to wait until the second period for it to arrive, a true piece of beauty when it landed, Sarah Torrans’ driving run ending with a thumping strike from the head of the D.

Mikayla Power scored a wonder goal for Old Alex. Picture: Adrian Boehm

Alex responded well, moving the ball better and working more openings. They got one back with another pearl of a goal, 16-year-old Mikayla Power’s run ending with a delicious backhand flick over Lizzie Murphy.

That made it game on going into the final quarter but Loreto finished strong the direct running Siofra O’Brien smashing home from mid-circle after a beautiful Aoife Murray through ball for 3-1. Grace Donald then dove onto a corner move for a fourth to round out a good result.

Belfast Harlequins 3 (L Geddes, S Hunter, N Lyttle) Cork Harlequins 0
Belfast Harlequins got the better of their Cork namesakes at a sunny Deramore Park, a 3-0 win giving the hosts their first points of the season.

It was a well-deserved victory for the more experienced home team – albeit still without their internationals – while the Munster side paraded a youthful outfit and travelled north with only one substitute.

Nevertheless, Cork made life tough enough for their opponents in the latter stages of the first half after they got the long journey out of their system.

They conceded the opening goal in the first quarter when Lucy Geddes netted at the far post after good work by Jane Kilpatrick down the right.

After that setback, Cork came in to the game and had a couple of chances of their own, Ruby Walsh clearing the crossbar with a backhand effort and Aine Power being denied by Suzanne Taylor in the home goal.

Belfast went on to dominate proceedings after those scares though and, five minutes into the second half, great work by Jenna Watt set up a simple chance for Sophie Hunter who tapped home at the far post.

In the 50th minute, Natalie Lyttle converted from the penalty spot after Cork keeper Joy O’Kelly was left with little option but to take out the unmarked Hunter in the circle with a goal looking likely.

The hosts continued to dominate and Watt and Kilpatrick – who had another fine match at both ends of the pitch – went close to adding to their team’s tally.

Catholic Institute 2 (L Clery, N Carroll) Muckross 0
Catholic Institute picked up their first win of the season with an impressive 2-0 home success against Muckross, adding to their two earlier draws.

Leah Clery broke the deadlock two minutes before half-time before Naomi Carroll put them two clear four minutes into the second half.

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Glenanne move clear at top of men’s EY Hockey League

Men’s EY Hockey League – day three reports
Lisnagarvey 3 (B Nelson, A Edgar, C Chambers) Corinthian 1 (P Caruth)

Lisnagarvey recorded their second successive win to move up into the top four as they got the better of Corinthian 3-1 at Comber Road. After some early reds’ pressure, Garvey took control and took the lead despite a mistrapped corner with Ben Nelson making amends, beating Simon Thornton at the near post.

The lively Nelson was causing plenty of problems, winning corners and making a nuisance of himself, and they were soon ahead after a robust Andrew Sutton challenge led to a corner and a green card. In his absences, the corner was duly despatched into the bottom left by Andy Edgar.

Chad Futcher soon followed to the bin but, despite his absence, Corinthian went level with an excellent counter from a Garvey set-piece. The resulting chargedown was worked all the way up the pitch to Peter Caruth to finish expertly past James Milliken.

Play ebbed and flowed in the third quarter with no real chances until Troy Chambers combined with Harry Morris down the Garvey right. Morris cut through the defence, finding a great ball to Cole Chambers who just managed to force the ball over the line.

It proved the last of the scoring as Corinthian pushed Caruth further up the pitch in search of an equaliser. Troy Chambers’ fearsome run released Ben Nelson whose rising shot was still rising when it hit the fence behind the goal.

Despite Ryan Getty being shown a yellow, the youngest Nelson went agonisingly close to killing off the game but that cause was aided when Caruth took a yellow for the last four minutes and Garvey saw out the results comfortably.

Three Rock Rovers 2 (B Johnson, R Canning) Annadale 2 (T Cross, A McAllister)
Annadale ended Three Rock Rovers’ perfect start to the season but could have done even better had it not been for the heroics of Conor Quinn who produced a save of the season contender from Owen McElhinney to ensure a draw at Grange Road.

The first half led to an exchange of penalty corners with Tim Cross’s straight hit finding its way in before Ben Johnson equalised for Rovers with a more conventional drag-flick.

At the start of the second half, Three Rock were causing all manner of problems – despite the absence of Ali Haughton and Jody Hosking – with the always active Sam Hamill making numerous interventions, racing off his line to good effect.

Ross Canning did slap in for 2-1 after another couple of waves of attack but Dale were level before the end of the third quarter via Adam McAllister’s rasping strike.

From there, it was anyone’s game with chances aplenty with both times able to pick up overloads. Tom Robson saved a Johnson drag on the line while Hamill brilliantly palmed away from the same player.

Quinn then produced his magic, a crazy double-save before scrambling across goal to keep out McElhinney. A Rovers’ corner on the final whistle went incomplete and the spoils were shared.

Pembroke’s Alan Sothern takes on Shane O’Donoghue and Neil Byrne. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Pembroke Wanderers 2 (S Sullivan, J Dale) Glenanne 4 (S O’Donoghue 2, S Boucher, B Venter)
Glenanne continued their winning start to the season, going two points clear of the top following a 4-2 win at Pembroke. The greens were in clear control in the first half as Pembroke struggled to get up and running and they went in front in the 12th minute from a Shane O’Donoghue penalty corner, deflected off the first runner.

Mark Ingram denied him another soon after with a stunning stick save but it was 2-0 in the 23rd minute when Richard Couse’s cross was miscontrolled at the back post and Brad Venter reacting incredibly quickly to dive in and score.

Julian Dale was the spearhead for Pembroke and his hard running leading to their two main chances of the half. Into the second half, after Jason Rogan’s shot was repelled, Dale got Pembroke back into the game.

Alan Sothern won the ball on his own 23-metre line and played through the Cork man who was fully 45-metres out but raced through and placed the ball past the impressive David Lawless.

Dale’s touch to Scott Sullivan’s pass was brilliantly denied by Lawless soon after before Sullivan equalised in the 50th minute from a corner rebound, Dale taking the initial shot.

But parity last only a couple of minutes with O’Donoghue dragging in his second of the game and fifth of the season on the three quarter hooter. Gary Shaw was next to test Ingram and the game was put to bed when Neil Byrne’s cross from the left picked out Shannon Boucher and reversed home for 4-2.

Monkstown 3 (R Nichols 2, M Gibbons) UCD 0
Monkstown continued their productive start to the season with a strong 3-0 win over UCD at Rathdown. It took just a couple of minutes to break the deadlock, Jazze Henry’s smart reverse-stick cross guided in by Mark Gibbons after Jeremy Duncan turned over possession.

Duncan slipped another effort inches wide after a nice peel down the left channel and it was 2-0 before the end of the first quarter when Rory Nichols ripped in the first corner of the game.

UCD had the best of the second quarter, earning four penalty corners while Tim Cope also had a strong chance but Dave Fitzgerald stood up calmly to save whatever came his way.

But Town pulled further clear early in the second half with Nichols firing in another corner shot with a powerful flick. From there, UCD had their moments with Harry Lynch excelling once again at the back while stinging the palm of Fitzgerald. Town, meanwhile, had chances to extend the lead but found no further goals.

Banbridge 4 (J McKee 3, J Moffett) YMCA 2 (G Glutz, H McCarthy)
Banbridge eased to a first win of the season as Jonny McKee’s hat-trick underpinned their 4-2 success against YMCA at Havelock Park. The Irish striker started the scoring in the first quarter and got the next, too, before Josh Moffett stretched the lead to 3-0 at half-time. He completed his treble just before the end of the third quarter.

YM got two back in the last 10 minutes via Grant Glutz and Harry McCarthy bit it proved immaterial to the desination of the points.

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Town to stream UCD clash on day three of men’s EYHL

Monkstown’s upwardly mobile side will hope to show off their skills to a wider audience this afternoon as they live stream their men’s EY Hockey League contest with UCD on Saturday (2.15pm).

The Rathdown club have made a positive start to the campaign with Guy Sarratt in fiery form hat trick propelling them a 4-2 win over Pembroke a week after salvaging a draw late in the game against Banbridge.

Sarratt was a key figure for UCD in the past couple of seasons and will now meet a student side who are growing after a summer overhaul and have former Town players Josh Filgas, Sam Byrne and Matthew O’Brien Holohan looking to make an impact.

** You can view the Monkstown v UCD game live from 2.15pm here

At Havelock Park, Bann are up against YMCA in what promises to be a high quality affair between two sides intent on fast-paced hockey.

The Co Down side’s hopes of a result were stymied last week when key overlapping presence Philip Brown went off with a head injury against Rovers, also limiting their corner options.

YM, meanwhile, found the Glenanne corner machine too hot to handle, but their ability to stretch the game means this tie could have serious entertainment value. They also have the confidence of having raided this same venue a year ago to land three points.

Pembroke will hope the return of Alan Sothern to the line-up can see them get off the mark for the season. His razor-sharp shooting was a loss in their loss to Town a week ago but he is set to return to the fray while Mark Duggan is also back to add to their midfield options.

They will host Glenanne who are on a high with maximum points with Shane O’Donoghue netting three times in two appearances. Their corners were a feature against YMCA a week ago with Shannon Boucher providing a twin threat from the top of the D.

Corinthian head north for the second time this term to take on Lisnagarvey at Comber Road with Ian Stewart and Chad Futcher leading the line. Andrew Sutton brings a wealth of experience which they will need against a Garvey side packed with talent.

All told, Garvey’s Saturday squad features 12 players who are either capped at international level or currently in Mark Tumilty’s wider senior Irish panel. Following a frustrating 2-1 defeat to Glenanne, they raced away from Annadale in game two to run up a 5-1 success and get back on track.

** To view the men’s EYHL table, click here

At Grange Road, Annadale will look to show off how much they have improved since this time a year ago when they endured a harrowing 10-0 defeat at the hands of Three Rock Rovers.

It was a rough outing in which Dale were left without a recognised goalkeeper in the second half due to injury and the Rathfarnham club duly prospered. Since then, both sides have undergone an overhaul with Rovers perhaps even surprising themselves with two wins from two having seen seven players emigrate and then assimilating a high volume of newcomers.

Annadale, meanwhile, are also building on their cohesion after the arrivals of internationals Tim Cross, Michael and Callum Robson.

Men’s EYHL Division 1 (Saturday): Banbridge v YMCA, Havelock Park, 2.45pm; Lisnagarvey v Corinthian, Comber Road, 2.30pm; Monkstown v UCD, Rathdown, 2.15pm; Pembroke Wanderers v Glenanne, Serpentine Avenue, 4pm; Three Rock Rovers v Annadale, Grange Road, 3.45pm

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Five sides on four points after highly competitive women’s EYHL opening rounds

A measure of the competitiveness in the women’s EY Hockey League is, after just two rounds, there are no perfect records left intact following a couple of high quality midweek fixtures.

Railway Union’s was the last to fall despite an outstanding comeback against Loreto at Beaufort on Wednesday, netting twice in the last quarter to draw 2-2.

Spurred by a healthy crowd, Loreto’s young guns showed plenty of composure and accuracy to build that two-goal lead with Aoife Taaffe on the mark both times.

The first was a cool finish following a long ball up through the middle, controlling and finishing, while the second owed much more to power than subtlety, a blast from the left side of the D.

** to view the women’s EYHL table, click here

And that looked set to bring a big boon for Paul Fitzpatrick’s side who were without Olympians Nicci Daly and Hannah Matthews, Ali Meeke, Mia Jennings and Hayley Mulcahy.

But Railway were always well in the contest and eventually made their penalty corner count tell. Orla Fox’s direct strike got one back and, with just a few minutes left, Kate Lloyd levelled from a corner rebound.

“I thought it was a really good game,” was Loreto coach Paul Fitzpatrick’s reflections afterwards. “Disappointed to have given it away in the end but, given the number of players missing and the experience of the team, absolutely delighted.

“We were down seven players for tonight but showed real character and it is a great opportunity for players to step up to do well in games like this.”

Her Railway counterpart Una McCarthy, meanwhile, added: “Full team effort, full resilience. We are disappointed not to have the win but relieved to have the point with that comeback.”

She said the experience around the squad of Kate Dillon and Emma Smyth – missing this one with a broken toe – has been a key factor in giving their young guns an extra belief to fightback. Both have been in and out of the panel for the past few years.

“Having both of them back after starting young families, to have them on the pitch and guiding our youngsters is great. It’s a great family club and team, going from 17-year-olds up to 35-year-olds. It’s a pleasure to work with them.

“They come off and suggest things to me and my assistant Gareth [Myburgh]. It all makes sense and that’s what they can bring to the game. They have both calmed down from the mad young ones that they were; they used to be much more volatile but they have become rocks of sense… most of the time!

“With Sarah Hawkshaw in there, between them, we have that brainpower on the pitch which keeps things under control. I am not sure whether the young ones would have had that resilience before but there was that know-how to do it.”

Up next for Railway is a home date against Pegasus who were 2-1 winners against Belfast Harlequins in midweek. Quins had taken the lead via Kathryn Smiley’s well-placed shot but rising star Ella Armstrong levelled before the end of the first quarter.

And the winner came in the 42nd minute with Taite Doherty finishing off some strong work down the left by Niamh McIvor to nab the lead.

It means both sides are on four points for the Saturday meeting at Park Avenue with the hosts set to miss Lisa McCarthy with an Achilles injury.

Elsewhere on Saturday, there are plenty of other mouth-watering ties. Old Alex – another on four points – host Loreto who are set to have a couple of players back in their line-up.

Catholic Institute and Muckross will be aiming to land a first point of the season at Rosbrien as will Belfast Harlequins against their Cork counterparts at Deramore Park.

Another couple of unbeaten records will also be put to the test at Belfield with UCD hosting Pembroke at 2.50pm.

Women’s EYHL Division 1 (all Saturday): Belfast Harlequins v Cork Harlequins, Deramore Park, 2.30pm; Catholic Institute v Muckross, Rosbrien, 1pm; Old Alexandra v Loreto, Alexandra College, 1.30pm; Railway Union v Pegasus, Park Avenue, 3pm; UCD v Pembroke Wanderers, Belfield, 2.50pm