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Women’s EYHL2 promotion chase hits the turf for this season

The chase for promotion to the women’s EY Hockey League top tier begins in earnest on Saturday with eight of the ten teams involved meeting on the opening day of EYHL Division 2.

The competition format features two groups of five teams with the winner of each group advancing direct to the playoff semi-finals while the second and third place side in each group will go to the quarter-finals.

Saturday begins with some potential crackers on the agenda with Pool A featuring Ards against Corinthian and Trinity up against UCC with Galway on the bye weekend. The other group begins with Monkstown hosting Cork C of I and Queen’s up against NUIG while Lurgan complete the line-up.

Women’s EY Hockey League Division 2 – team-by-team info
Ards are going well in the Ulster Premier League, currently unbeaten with eight wins and two draws to their name, to sit top of the table. As well as having an impressive goal tally, defensively the squad is on form having conceded only three goals with Naomi McKnight the last line.

Up front, they have Olympian Zara Malseed to lead the line, indoor internationals Caroline Adams Amy Benson and Rebecca Kirk bringing lots of knowledge to the table while the return of youth international Alana Doyle has been another boon. The coaching ticket is similarly strong with Gareth Grundie – an Irish assistant coach – into his ninth year over the team, supported by Adams and Tamara McLeod.

Cork C of I
Phil Oakley’s outfit are currently sitting second in Munster Division One with just one defeat on their record. They start with a tough away date against Monkstown while lying in wait for them later on is a rematch with Queen’s who they fell 2-1 to in the Irish Senior Cup in early October.

The side can draw on quite a bit of EYHL experience with Becky Maye, Nicola Kerr, Alex O’Grady and key defender Emma Barber all having played for Cork Harlequins in the top tier. Ex-international Hollie Moffett and Ireland A player Mel Ryan are other key players while the squad has expanded this year with Henrietta Pienaar, Candace Davey, Julie Coyne and Jessica Kingston widening the panel, offsetting the departures of Hannah Kate Finn and Gill O’Leary.

UCC’s Caoimhe Perdue and Queen’s Jessica McMaster. Pic: Billy Pollock

Corinthian were frustrated back in 2020 as the one side to already have a playoff place confirmed in EYHL2 before the season was called to a halt. They are now coached by Ross Willis for his first proper season having arrived from South Africa in November 2020.

Holly Micklem (Old Alex) and Milly Lynch (the Netherlands) have moved on since then but, otherwise, they have a reasonably settled side and have won all five Leinster league games to date. Jessica and Lauren McGrane are scoring plenty, Jodie Douglas, captain Amber Kinlan and Lynn Pomeroy are strong performers and Georgie Fottrell is one to watch.

Galway’s star turn is 2016 Rio Olympian Alyssa Manley who lined out for the US the Games and the player-coach has already netted three times this season for the Dangan club in their two league wins to date in Connacht. Former UCD and Syracuse University player Elaine Carey is another with top-line quality.

They were in a share of top spot in Connacht’s Division One with NUIG when the 2019/20 season was called to a halt and they have lost just once domestically since the start of that campaign, form they will be keen to the EYHL2 stage.

Lurgan have the bye weekend in EYHL2 on Saturday having had a competitive start to the Ulster Premier Division, picking up three wins and four draws from 10 outings so far, scoring 14 goals, conceding 13 to sit in sixth place.

Charlene Stewart is a strong defender and organiser for the side with Lauren Wright and Sarah McClure bringing the eye for goal. Jade Lamont – a member of the Junior Green Army for a couple of years – is back in Ireland between the posts following a successful spell in the UK, winning a British Universities title with Nottingham Trent.

Monkstown bring an impressive squad to the table this season and it has shown in their games to date with six wins out of six in the Leinster league, scoring 30 times.

Simon Lowry and Sarah Scott are in their third season as a coaching duo and have added a number of youngsters to their panel to learn from the experience of Sarah Greene, Chloe Watkins and new recruits from the 2020 season Sarah Twomey and Suzie Kelly. The squad and management are excited for the season ahead and hope to make a strong push for promotion.

NUIG have started their season in upbeat mood with an Irish Hockey Trophy away win over Bandon and two league wins in the Connacht league. The side is coached by Cathal Duggan who was at the helm for Crescent Comprehensive when they won the Kate Russell All-Ireland Schoolgirls Championships a couple of years ago.

Freddie Timmins, meanwhile, is a long-time leader of the side; she captained Connacht’s first ever Under-16 interpro winning side in 2007. Ailbhe Folan is their chief goal-getter while Jenny Buttimer, Aoife McGovern, Ruth McNulty, Anna O’Donoghue and Anna O’Hara have EYHL2 experience under their belt from 2019/20.

Queen’s University
Queen’s domestic form has been a bit hit and miss with two wins from seven outings thus far in the Ulster Premier Division but, on the flip side, they are through to the last eight of the Irish Senior Cup, eliminating UCC in the second round.

Senior international Erin Getty will be a key figure as will forward flyer Jessica McMaster while an interesting prospect could be World Cup star Zoe Wilson who has registered from Randalstown as she works her way back from an ACL injury.

Simon Bell is in his 14th season as head coach and he can also draw upon new arrivals Sophie McDowell (from Beeston), Ellie Montgomery (Pegasus), Rebecca Spence (Lurgan) and Zoe Kilpatrick (also Lurgan) and they will hope to be physically up for the challenge following an eight-week S&C block with Mike McGurn.

Monkstown captain Sarah Greene. Picture: Deryck Vincent

Leinster contenders Trinity has seen a turnover of players since their last season in action with Sally Campbell, Ailish Long and Issy Delamer departing for EYHL clubs but they have started the new campaign well, unbeaten in six games with five wins in Leinster.

Irish development panelist Erica Markey, Amy Buttimer, Iseult Cambay and Kate Orr are strong performers while Valerie Hajek has joined from Davidson University in the US. They still have a bit of gelling to do, though, following a 3-0 loss to Corinthian in the Irish Senior Cup, a side they will face later in the group stages.

The club’s stated primary target is to make the playoffs for EYHL1 and they will also be keen to retain the Munster Senior League title, something they are looking good for with a 100% record so far.

At the back Emma Cripps will be pivotal and she will be ably assisted in guiding the team by senior players like Roisin O’Dea and Hilary Balding. Irish panelist Caoimhe brings huge energy across the pitch and plenty of goalscoring prowess.

Development panelists Nikki Barry and Sarah Murphy will also be hoping this season sees them break into the wider Irish panel and in the process help UCC gain promotion. Rising stars Elva Kerr, Hilary Balding and Rebecca Kingston have pushed on massively in the last year and will be hoping continue that progress. The Irish Senior Cup saw them eliminate Monkstown but fall to Queen’s, both in shoot-outs.

Women’s EYHL Division 2 (Saturday fixtures)
Pool A:
Ards v Corinthian, Londonderry Park, 2.30pm; Trinity v UCC, Trinity Sports Grounds, 2pm
Pool B: Monkstown v Cork C of I, Rathdown, 2pm; Queens University v NUIG, Malone Playing Fields, 1pm


Eleven teams ready for men’s EYHL Division 2 campaign

Saturday sees the men’s EY Hockey League Division 2 hit the turf for the first time in the 2021/22 season featuring 11 clubs, divided into three round-robin, home and away groups.

It is an expansion from the eight-team, two group format from the 2019/20 season, accounting for the state of play when that campaign was called short.

The two sides who win their groups with the best record on a points-per-game basis will advance straight through to the EYHL promotion playoff semi-finals. The third best group winner and the three group stage runners-up will go to the quarter-finals.

It starts with Instonians facing Railway Union and Rathgar meeting Cork C of I in Pool 1, Cork Harlequins welcoming Clontarf in Pool 2 and Pool 3 featuring Cookstown against Mossley and Portrane up against Bandon.

Men’s EY Hockey League 2 team-by-team information

Bandon have emerged as serious rivals for Munster honours this term, putting it up to Cork C of I at every turn and they sit just a point off the Garryduff side having drawn twice in normal time – once in the cup, once in the league.

Masters international Dave Smith continues to prove that age really is just a number. Ross Smyth and Eoin Nyhan are continuing their development and have looked really sharp along with rising stars Ian Perrott, Karl Smyth and Ethan Hamilton-Foott who all have some great experience, even at a young age.

Head coach Denis Pritchard has a vast range of experience to call upon and he has laid out the following targets, saying: “Our minimum aim is to maintain our current EYHL2 status. We also aspire to win our local competitions and to challenge for promotion to EYHL 1.”

Clontarf got off to a slow start to the season with losses to Avoca and Portrane in the opening weeks as they adjusted to life after David Lawless (Glenanne) and Mark Duggan (Pembroke) moved on to EYHL hockey while Kevin Mullins went travelling.

But they have since started to amp up their performances with strong performances against Railway Union, Wicklow and Bray, scoring 19 goals along the way.

They are further bouyed by the new turf at Mount Temple which they formally opened last Saturday, celebrating with a 10-1 victory. Davyn Keuter netted a hat trick while former Irish Under-21 captain Sam Grace has linked up with the club and gives them a range of corner options. Luke Hayden has five goals to his name already, too.

Clontarf’s Luke Hayden. Pic: Adrian Boehm

The Co Tyrone club come into the EYHL2 as the top scorers in the Ulster Premier League with 51 goals from their seven outings to date, dropping just two points, and still rolling in the Irish Senior Cup following a shoot-out victory over Railway Union.

They face Mossley first up having won 9-1 against their Ulster rivals in September and so will be big favourites to land the points from the opening day. Experienced heads like Greg Thompson, Mark Crooks, Stu Smyth and Ewan Butler joined by the likes of Stewart Wylie and Jack Haycock – a significant corner threat – while they also have a trio of players in the Ulster Under-18 line-up who impressed last week.

Cork C of I
Cork C of I have targeted a return to the EY Hockey League as their primary focus and they have widened their panel well with the arrival of underage internationals Rory Treacy and Ian Balding among key additions along with Neil Pelow from Corinthian to help mitigate against the departure of Kevin O’Dea for college at UCD.

They begun the season in strong fashion, unbeaten to date with six wins out of seven in Munster Division One and through to the Irish Senior Cup quarter-finals.

There is experience from Simon Wolfe, Jason Lynch, Alec Moffett, Phil Sweetnam and player coach Jonny Bruton with Rob Sweetnam among the regular goal-getters.

Cork Harlequins
Cork Harlequins will be keen to make an impact this year with a young panel who are aiming to continue their rise into the adult ranks. Jamie Venner will be looking to command midfield, stepping in to the shoes of Mark Black who has stepped away from the squad due to injury.

Sam Dale, the youngest in the Dale dynasty, will be looking to beat defenders with his injection of pace and has a sharp eye for the goal. Both attended regional development sessions along with Ross Bailey who is vice captain this year. Jack O’Meara also took part in Irish men’s training and his goals have helped drive this team forward. The squad has a good mixture of youth such as John Whyte and Andrew Dale as well as experience from John Hobbs and Dave Egner who will steady the ship. They sit third in Munster Division One after seven rounds of matches.

With Olympians Mark Gleghorne and Mikie Watt in their ranks, Inst have serious firepower and it has helped them hit the current top spot in Ulster’s Premier Division with seven wins from eight league outings and 42 goals along the way.

At the far end, Finley Marney has impressed, conceding just five times in the Ulster league. Stephen Watt coaches the side, bringing his vast knowledge to the table while the likes of captain Stephen Kelso, Gavin Lecky, Andrew Corry and Ben Palmer bring their experience from Inst’s most recent stint in the EYHL top tier.

Gordon Cracknell’s side line out in Pool 2 of the competition but wait to enter the fray as Cork Harlequins and Clontarf face off against each other in the three-team group on day one.

The Mourne men’s form in the Ulster Permier League has been a mixed bag to date with two wins, two draws and a loss on their card but an impressive draw against Cookstown shows they can be more than competitive with the sides in this division. Luke Russell, Jonathan Aiken and David Rae bring the forward threat while Jedd Campbell is their rising star, lining out with the Ulster Under-21 side this season.


Mossley are contesting their first EYHL2 season having been in the top four mix when the 2019/20 Ulster Premier season was called to a halt. They are currently in seventh place in that league but can take confidence from their competitive performance last Friday evening against high-flying Instonians, former international Simon Todd on the mark.

He brings the experience along with Fraser Mills for Harry McNeill’s side which Matt Anderson captains. Jamie Lyall is a rising star and was recently called up to the Ulster Under-21 line-up.

Portrane are preparing for their first EYHL2 campaign off the back of an incredible recent rise in Leinster, coming up from the lower reaches of the league roster in Division 6 to competing in the top half of Division 1A and winning the 2020 Irish Hockey Trophy.

The early stages of this term has yielded four wins from six outings with last week’s 3-2 success against Rathgar a significant one as was their 1-0 victory over Clontarf.

Ex-Pakistan and Azerbaijan international Imran Khan is still one of the most skillful players in the local game while South African dup Andrew Darroch and Ross Hetem are helping guide a large contingent of players who have developed their hockey in the Fingal region.

Railway Union
A vastly experienced outfit, the side features a string of players who were part of their run to the 2012 Irish Senior Cup including top scorer Mark English – who already has over 20 goals to his name this season – Rob Abbott, Rob Devlin, Kenny Carroll, Stephen O’Keeffe, Richie Forrest, David McCarthy and Fergal Keaveney.

They are the last remaining unbeaten side in Leinster Division 1A, recording a remarkable 38 goals in five games with another 26 coming in three Leinster Cup fixtures.

Cork C of I’s Simon Wolfe. Picture: Adrian Boehm

Simon Filgas joined the Rathgar coaching set up after Ronan Hickey made the move to UCD. He inherits a new-look side with Shane Madeley, goalkeeper Aidan Doyle (both from Three Rock Rovers), Patrick Temperley and Julian Foley (from Dublin University) adding to the ranks while David McCrea, Ricky McMahon and Stephen Ludgate have all returned to the club after stints abroad.

They have had a tricky start to the Leinster Division 1A season with defeats at the hands of Avoca, Railway Union and Portrane and just one win to their name to date. This will be their debut at this level of competition, getting their chance following an excellent run toward the end of the shortened 2019/20 season where they ended level with Portrane on points.

Men’s EYHL Division 2
Pool 1:
Instonians v Railway Union, Shaw’s Bridge, 3pm; Rathgar v Cork C of I, The High School, 2.45pm
Pool 2: Cork Harlequins v Clontarf, Farmers’ Cross, 2.45om
Pool 3: Cookstown v Mossley, Coolnafranky, 2.30pm; Portrane v Bandon, Donabate Leisure Centre, 2pm

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Garvey go top as Rovers make big comeback against Glens

Men’s EY Hockey League – day seven round-up
Lisnagarvey 5 (D Nelson 2, J Lorimer, O Kidd, M Nelson) UCD 1 (T Cope)

Lisnagarvey went top on their own for the first time this season with a sixth successive victory, beating bottom side UCD 5-1. While the final score might have been anticipated, the students made life very difficult and led 1-0 at time thanks to Tim Cope’s counter goal.

But three goals early in the second quarter changed things as James Lorimer levelled from a corner before Ollie Kidd and Daniel Nelson turned things around. Nelson and his younger brother Matthew then completed the victory.

Early on, Garvey had an early corner charged down before that UCD goal which was well-worked down the left, building an overload which ended with Tim Cope finishing off from five metres out.

The second half continued a pattern of UCD sitting back and playing off Garvey scraps. Three more corners were kept out while Matthew Hoolohan-O’Brien did well to keep out Matthew Nelson after he had put on the after-burners.

The press continued into the second half with Garvey pushing forward from the back through Jonny Bell to camp in the students’ 23-metre zone.

The equaliser eventually came via James Lorimer’s trademark drag-flick for 1-1. It open the floodgates with Ollie Kidd finishing off a chance from close range and Daniel Nelson getting on the end of a stylish passing move.

It gave some breathing room at 3-1 and they kept that buffer despite strong UCD openings in the fourth quarter which James Milliken was equal to. And the game was safe when Garvey produced another superb passing move with Matthew Nelson popping up with the finish following great link up between his younger brother Ben and Kidd.

Daniel Nelson finished well to put the game well and truly out of sight.

Glenanne 2 (S O’Donoghue, G Gibney) Three Rock Rovers 4 (A Empey 2, J Walker, E Jennings)
Three Rock Rovers came back from 2-0 inside the opening 11 minutes to land a big win and jump above the Glens into second place in the men’s EY Hockey League.

The hosts bossed the opening quarter, Shane O’Donoghue scoring with their first short corner attempt after eight minutes. A few minutes later, an overload on the right gave O’Donoghue space to smack a cross into the circle which was met flush by Gibney sliding in at the flick spot.

Gradually Rovers were working their way back into the game and James Walker scored via a deflection from their first short corner, 2-1 at half time.

Another short corner routine, this time via the stick of Evan Jennings, provided the equaliser in the third quarter and the momentum was beginning to shift.

Bann’s Philip Brown tackles Annadale’s Kent Irwin. Picture: Billy Pollock

Despite two short corners to Glenanne, Three Rock were creating the more scoring chances with Ross Canning going close and Walker almost latching on to a Fred Morris left -wing cross.

A slip pass by Ryan Spencer was finished off on the reverse by Ali Empey in the closing 10 minutes and he completed the scoring with another reverse stick-shot after good work by Canning down the right.

Annadale 1 (R Davidson) Banbridge 3 (C Curry, Ph Brown, J McKee)
Banbridge won a feisty all-Ulster battle as some quality goals from Chris Curry, Philip Brown and Jonny McKee saw them win 3-1 at Annadale.

Bann almost got on the board inside the first minute when Louis Rowe was set through but Sam Hamill came off his line in typically swift fashion to smother the chance. The opening goal arrived when McKee’s skills got him to the baseline where he scooped high over the defence to the back post where Curry was arriving to bat in over head-height.

From there, chances were at something of a premium with Banbridge looking to counter and exploit McKee’s ability. Annadale, though, did get level when a loose overhead fell to Tim Cross and his control and pass to David Nicholl was first-timed to Robbie Davidson at the left post for another one-touch finish – a fine goal.

Bann restored their lead before half-time courtesy of Philip Brown’s powerful drag-flick from the game’s first corner down the stick side.

Through the second half, Dale probably had more of the game with Callum Robson fizzing over the bar on his backhand while Kent Irwin almost worked a chance. But a brilliant left wing cross in Q4 was met by the diving McKee for the 3-1 lead. Annadale did camp in the Bann D for the latter stages, winning a couple of corners and having one effort ruled out following a high ball into the danger zone.

Corinthian 3 (P Caruth 2, I Stewart) Pembroke 4 (A Sothern 2, G Chambers, J Dale)
Julian Dale’s 62nd minute goal earned Pembroke their first win of the season as they got over the line against Corinthian who lost 4-3 at home for the second successive fixture. Alan Sothern got the first of his double in the 19th minute only for Peter Caruth to do likewise in the 28th minute.

Greg Chambers and Sothern’s second from the penalty spot had put Pembroke into a strong 3-1 half-time lead but Ian Stewart’s penalty corner drag-flick closed the gap and it was 3-3 before the end of the third quarter when Caruth got his second.

But Dale popped up with the winner eight minutes from time for Pembroke to significantly cut the gap to the sides just beyond the relegation zone.

YMCA 1 (S Hyland) Monkstown 1 (D Carson)
Sam Hyland’s penalty stroke in the dying moments to make it three draws in their last four outings for YMCA as Monkstown lost a bit of ground on the leading group. David Carson put YM 1-0 up in the second quarter which they held through to the closing quarter and his side had a trio of corner chances to make the game safe which Jakim Bernsden blocked to keep the game live.

He was swapped out for an extra outfielder and YM used the 11th outfielder well, winning a corner which was transformed into a stroke with Hyland holding his nerve to score.

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Pembroke go clear at top of women’s EY Hockey League

Women’s EY Hockey League
Pembroke 4 (C Foley 2, T Wensley, O Macken) Catholic Institute 1 (R Upton)

Pembroke produced a blistering first half performance to move clear on their own at the top of the women’s EY Hockey League for the first time with their fourth successive win.

Again, it was built around their incredible speed throughout the team and their ability to attack at full throttle. The first goal came nine minutes in when Emily Beatty raced out of defence, laid off to Sally Campbell and her cross was turned in by Tori Wensley, to finish off a 70-metre move.

Pam Smithwick did brilliantly to deny Campbell and then Wensley from another attack while Aisling Naughton’s powerful shot was blocked by Anna Horan.

Goal number two came via Orla Macken’s corner hit which deflected off the first runner and into the top corner. Claire Foley then forced home from close range after Amy-Kate Trevor’s left wing cross.

Insta finished the first half strong with Róisín Upton denied by Emma Buckley as was Horan while their fourth corner was hit by Naomi Carroll and deflected over the bar.

They very much had the lion’s share of the second half ball and got their reward when Upton’s drag hit a foot on the line and she stepped up to convert the stroke. But they could not break through again and, in the last minute, Foley cleaned up her second after Eanna Horan’s shot came back off the post.

Old Alex coach Eimear Cregan. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Old Alex 1 (A Russell) UCD 1 (N Carey)
Old Alex and UCD shared a point each from a high class game in Milltown as Abbie Russell’s first half goal was cancelled out by a riposte from Niamh Carey.

Early on, Carey’s twin Michelle was one of the initial driving forces with her speedy runs twice leading to shots that needed to be dealt with by the Alex defence. In return, Alex’s best chance fell to Allie Hetherington from a brilliant ball in from Jessica McGirr but stand-in goalkeeper Laura Gunning made her presence felt to snuff out the chance.

Alex went in front when Mikayla Power cut in from the sideline and her slide-rule pass fell to Zoe Dunne whose touch invited Russell to chip the ball into the net; 1-0 at half-time.

UCD applied a huge amount of pressure in the second half with Leah Paul’s cracking shot saved at the right post while Amy Elliott twice had chances repelled. The students also hit the post before the equaliser came with nine minutes to go with a diving deflection from Niamh Carey from a pin-point cross.

A Lena Tice corner shot was repelled before UCD had a big chance to win it at the end but Carolyn Crampton did well and the tie ended 1-1.

Railway Union 4 (Z Delany, E Smyth, K Dillon, F Maughan) Belfast Harlequins 0
Railway Union moved into the top four with a strong 4-0 win over Belfast Harlequins, built around three first half goals at Park Avenue.

Indeed, they scored in both the first 45 and last 45 seconds of the game, the former coming from an excellent left-wing move with Sarah Hawkshaw and Kate Lloyd combining before gifting Zara Delany with a simple chance for 1-0.

It was a fruitful avenue of attack and almost yielded a second via Orla Patton but she could not get enough on her shot. They switched the point of attack to the right double their lead, Delany popping the ball across a crowded circle where Emma Smyth was waiting to finish off.

Kate Lloyd almost nipped in for another when she pick-pocketed the last defender and the third arrived when Kate Dillon tipped in next from Delany’s under-the-arm pass.

They continued to create the better chances into the second half though Belfast Quins came more into the contest as time wore on. They had a couple of corners but could not get the trap right to tee up Jane Kilpatrick.

From one of their main attacks, Railway almost snagged a fourth but Dillon fired wide with the goal beckoning. As it was, they waited until the final second when Florence Maughan turned in Hawkshaw’s ball across to cap a comfortable win.

Old Alex’s Jessica McGirr takes on UCD’s Sarah MacAuley. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Loreto 4 (S O’Brien 2, S Torrans, H Matthews) Muckross 0
Loreto got their third win of the season to rise to 12 points and up one place as they had too much in the tank for their Dublin rivals.

It took them a while to breakthrough, though, as Muckross goalkeeper Aofie Glennon impressed between the posts and, in general, they made life hard for Loreto with a compact defence.

Corners looked the most likely route to get the breakthrough as the set piece count rose and Sarah Torrans eventually profited on the half hour, hitting home after the ball squirmed her way following the first shot.

Hannah Matthews hit the post with a direct strike from another corner in the third quarter and Nicola Torrans just missed out from a great chance created by high pressure. The second came when Matthews stormed through the middle onto a Grace Donald pass and slotted in on her backhand.

Siofra O’Brien then got the third, another backhand shot after Yasmin Pratt had worked the ball into her path. O’Brien hit the post with another chance before getting her second following excellent control, a driving run and reverse-stick shot.

Liz Murphy retained her clean sheet with an excellent sliding interception to block Rebecca McMullen’s attempted cross.

Cork Harlequins 0 Pegasus 6 (A Speers, E Armstrong, R Maguire, S McCay, L McKee, E Quinn)
Pegasus bounced back from their first defeat of the season with a strong 6-0 away win over Cork Harlequins. Alex Speers, Ella Armstrong and Ruth Maguire’s penalty stroke got them halfway there inside the first quarter of the contest.

A corner goal from Shirley McCay and final quarter efforts from Lucy McKee and Emma Quinn completed the result.

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Pembroke-Insta and Glens-TRR tussles highlight EYHL weekend

For a second weekend running, there is plenty of scope for a shake-up at the top of the men’s and women’s EYHL with encounters between sides in the top three of both competitions.

On the women’s side, there has been something of a changing of the guard with three sides in the top four having never previously reached the EYHL playoffs.

Two of them meet at Serpentine Avenue with Pembroke – fresh from their 2-1 win over Pegasus – face Catholic Institute after their stunning 3-2 success against UCD.

Playing back-to-back games on water-based could work well for the Limerick side who have won four of their last five outings, three games of which were on the road.

Leah McGuire was a real beating heart in the Pembroke side a week ago while Isy Delamer was similarly composed at the back in their super performance that has them at the top alongside Old Alex.

Alex, themselves, have a tester against UCD but are in red-hot form, winning four in a row and scoring goals for fun – 10 in their last two outings with Nikki Evans grabbing four of them.

UCD are the EYHL’s top scorers thus far with Hannah McLoughlin leading the individual charts but she has been missed in the last two weeks following an injury sustained on international duty.

With many of their panel in the Irish Under-21 squad, it has made for a slightly disjointed spell and back-to-back defeats has them in sixth place.

Pegasus will hope to get back on the winning trail when they make the long trip to bottom side Cork Harlequins. The Ulster side missed the services of Shirley McCay, Leah Paul and Kate Gourley a week ago which left them tight for options.

Quins draw heavily on Munster Under-20 and 18 rising stars like Lauren Cripps, Amy O’Shea, Ruby Walsh and Isobel Kingston as they look to adapt to life in the top league with a very young squad.

Loreto will be looking to find a bit of form when they host Muckross at Beaufort; the hosts are in an unaccustomed lower mid-table position but the nature of the league means a good win here could see them right back among the chasers.

Railway Union have played out some intense battles this season with only their 6-0 success against Cork Harlequins being settled by more than a single goal. This weekend, they host the Belfast variety of Harlequin who sit on three points after seven rounds, putting them precariously above the bottom two.

Glenanne’s Jonny McCormack on the attack against UCD. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Despite both sitting near the top of the men’s table, both joint-top Glenanne and Three Rock Rovers come into round seven off the back of their first losses of the season in recent weeks.

Rovers are the top scorers in the division to date with 22 from their six games but Glenanne have the most lethal individual shooting threat with Shane O’Donoghue on nine goals.

They are a tight-knit panel, working with one of the smaller squads this season with experienced heads like Brad Venter, Sam O’Connor, Gary and Richie Shaw bringing a wealth of know-how. David Lawless has impressed between the posts since arriving from Clontarf.

For Rovers, Ali Haughton could come back into the fold having missed over a month with a hamstring issue but Harry MacMahon missed last week’s tie at Lisnagarvey.

It is one of four derbies on the agenda. The Ulster match-up between Annadale and Banbridge sees just one point separate the sides with a potential cracker on the cards.

Dale’s first win of the campaign was emphatic a fortnight ago and in a realistic position to challenge Bann for the first time in a number of years.

While a lot has been made of their international trio, Adam McAllister has been a vital cog while up and coming stars like Kent Irwin and Paddy Rose along with Ulster Under-21 panelists Allen Lyons and James Clark mean they have a wider depth of talent.

Bann were almost stunned by Corinthian last time around after a breathtaking first half in Dublin. More of that and less of the second period and they will be in good shape.

Pembroke were heavily under-staffed for their last visit to Dublin 16 a fortnight ago and they will hope to have some of Harry Spain, Rob McCollum, Alex Burns and Andrew Colton back in the line-up against Corinthian.

Julian Dale has been inspirational this term despite their tough run and he will be key if they can land a first win of the league season.

For the reds, they know a third win of the campaign would put significant distance between themselves and Pembroke and allow them to continue looking upwards in the table.

Monkstown take their slightly erratic form to YMCA, beating Glenanne after missing out against Annadale and Corinthian. Guy Sarratt showed once again he is a top gun in this league from corners and will put Jakim Bernsden to the test.

YM have not won since the opening day of the season; their ability to stretch the game at pace has made for plenty of attacking openings but has the downside of seeing them concede at least twice in each game this term, something they will aim to address.

Top faces bottom as Lisnagarvey, fresh from joining the Glens at the top, meet UCD at Comber Road with the students outsiders to land their first win of the campaign.

Round two of the men’s and women’s Irish Junior Cups also takes place with 16 teams remaining in each competition on Saturday.

Sunday sees the latest rounds of girls interprovincial fixtures with the Under-21, 18 and 16 sides from Munster and Leinster facing off at Newtown in Waterford while Ulster and Connacht’s Under-18 and 16 teams play each other at Grange Road.

Saturday 13th November 2021
EYHL Division 1:
Annadale v Banbridge, Lagan College, 2.30pm; Corinthian v Pembroke Wanderers, Whitechurch Park, 3.15pm; Glenanne v Three Rock Rovers, St. Andrews College, 2.30pm; Lisnagarvey v UCD, Comber Road, 2.30pm; YMCA v Monkstown, Wesley College, 3.50pm

Men – Irish Junior Cup – Round 2: Banbridge v Instonians, Havelock Park, 1pm; Clontarf v Pembroke, Mount Temple, 3pm; Corinthian v YMCA, St Columba’s, 4.45pm; Glenanne v Cookstown, St Andrews, 4pm; Kilkeel v Bangor, Kilkeel HS, 2.30pm; Monkstown v Annadale, Rathdown, 2pm; North Down v Lisnagarvey, Comber LC, 4pm; Railway Union v Mossley, Park Avenue, 3.40pm

EYHL Division 1:
Cork Harlequins v Pegasus, Farmers’ Cross, 12.45pm; Loreto v Muckross, Beaufort, 1.15pm; Old Alexandra v UCD, Alexandra College, 1.30pm; Pembroke Wanderers v Catholic Institute, Serpentine Avenue, 2.30pm; Railway Union v Belfast Harlequins, Park Avenue, 1.45pm

Irish Junior Cup – Round 2: Cork Harlequins v Avoca, Farmers Cross; Trinity v Corinthian, Santry, 2pm; Loreto v Belfast Harlequins, Beaufort, 2.45pm; Muckross v Monkstown, Muckross Park, 3.30pm; Old Alex v Ashton, Milltown, 3pm; Pembroke Wanderers v Pegasus, Serpentine Avenue, 12.30pm; Ulster Elks v Railway Union, Jordanstown, 2.40pm

Sunday 14th November 2021
Inteprovincial Championships

Under-21: Munster v Leinster, Newtown, 2pm
Under-18: Ulster v Connacht, Grange Road, 2pm; Munster v Leinster, Newtown, 2pm
Under-16: Ulster v Connacht, Grange Road, 5pm; Munster v Leinster, Newtown, 12pm

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Pembroke and Alex move top while Insta land big victory

Women’s EY Hockey Legaue – day seven round-up
Railway Union 1 (O Patton) Loreto 1 (C Hamill)

Railway Union and Loreto were inseparable in normal time for a third time this season as first quarter goals from Christina Hamill and Orla Patton meant honours even at Park Avenue.

The visitors went in front when Yasmin Pratt went on a lengthy run down the left and and shoveled across for Hamill to sweep home. Railway replied quickly with Kate Dillon deflecting over just before Patton equalised in the 10th minute when Holly Jenkinson lined up a nice angle for the former UCD player to deflect in.

After that, it was very tight. Riona Norton made a strong block from the lively Pratt while Kate Lloyd’s reverse was well blocked by Liz Murphy. She also palmed away a Sarah Patton drag-flick to keep it at 1-1 at half-time.

Loreto had a couple of good chances in the third quarter with Sarah Evans’ shot touched over by Norton while a smart corner move from Aoife Taaffe was guided just wide by a sliding deflector.

From Railway’s third corner, another Jenkinson angled shot was read well by Hannah Matthews on the left post to avert the danger and that was the last big chance.

Pembroke Wanderers 2 (E Curran, A Naughton) Pegasus 1 (K Magee)
Pembroke produced a brilliant home performance to leap-frog Pegasus and into a share of first place thanks to cracking goals from Ellen Curran and Aisling Naughton.

Pegasus – who were without Shirley McCay – had the first major chance when Katie McKee’s corner slap from the left of the circle was saved off the line by Hayley O’Donnell.

After that, the Ulster side’s goal led a charmed life as Tori Wensley almost cashed in from chaos in the circle from a miscontrolled ball around the back. A corner followed up from which Leah McGuire – who was exceptional between defence and midfield – flicked onto the inside of the post and eventually to safety.

The first goal came on the half hour and was an outstanding pitch-length more. McGuire flipped the ball out to Rachel O’Brien on the 23-metre line. She got the ball on to Amy-Kate Trevor who worked it on to Gillian Pinder with space to attack; she did just that and clipped into the middle where Curran led a queue of three players lining up to get the tip in.

Into Q3, Naughton’s brilliant backhand shot hit the inside of the post again and somehow stayed out. But one did become two when McGuire’s long pump was not dealt with; Emily Beatty helped it on to Naughton who cracked home on her backhand first time.

The game remained live, though, as Kerri Magee swept in a penalty corner, cutting the gap to 2-1. And they had their moments in the fourth quarter with Taite Doherty not quite getting the full connection in a circle melee while Magee’s corner shot was blocked by O’Donnell on the left post yet again.

Old Alex 5 (S Robinson, N Evans, M Power, A Russell, D Duke) Belfast Harlequins 1 (J Kilpatrick)
Old Alex overcame a first minute concession to beat Belfast Harlequins for the second time this season and move into a share of top spot of the women’s EY Hockey League.

Quins started the better with recent Irish debutante Jane Kilpatrick scoring from a corner in the early phases. Alex had the majority share of possession from then on and got the equaliser in the sixth minute from a PC rebound scored by Sarah Robinson.

Six minutes into the second quarter, the Milltown side got just reward for their play with a reverse strike by Nikki Evans from a very tight angle to go in at half time 2-1 up.

Mikayla Power added a third goal in the 3rd quarter, roofing her shot home from a reverse. Abbie Russell weighed in with the next after great forward pressure with the forward reacting quickest to a loose ball, spinning towards goal and crashed the ball off the backboard.

Harlequins fought hard and had chances to close the gap only to be denied by some fine work from Caroline Nugent, particularly when she came off her line to make a sliding save.

The final goal was scored by Deirdre Duke who picked up the ball with her back to goal from a Lena Tice pass and squeezed the ball home on her reverse.

Catholic Institute’s Roisin Upton takes on UCD’S Sarah McAuley. Picture Adrian Boehm

UCD 2 (R Kelly, M Carey) Catholic Institute 3 (R Upton 3)
Róisín Upton’s hat trick saw Catholic Institute produce an outstanding comeback from 2-0 down to beat UCD and move into a share of third place – three points off top spot – after seven rounds of action.

Rachel Kelly – playing against her twin sister Hannah’s new club – scored from a very fast counter-attack in the 10th minute for UCD in a lively opening with chances at both ends. They drew the best of Pam Smithwick, too, early in the second quarter before the Limerick side grew more comfortable on the water turf, though the hosts did finish the half strong.

Michelle Carey doubled the students’ lead three minutes into the second half with a back post deflection for what looked an imposing lead.

It remained that way until 23 minutes from the end when sustained pressure led to a corner which Upton put away to gain a lifeline. Within five minutes, it was level with Christine O’Shea earning a corner which Upton used to level matters at 2-2.

And Upton had her third of the day when a great team move ended with yet another set piece which Upton put away. UCD replied with Niamh Carey going close with five minutes to go from a one-on-one chance but Insta prevailed for a famous win.

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Lisnagarvey move top with narrow win over Three Rock

Men’s EYHL Division 1
Lisnagarvey 3 (B Nelson, P McKibbin, J Lorimer) Three Rock Rovers 2 (R Spencer 2)

Lisnagarvey came from behind to defeat Three Rock Rovers 3-2 at Comber Road in the sole game to be played this weekend in the men’s EY Hockey League with the hosts moving into a share of top of the EYHL standings with Glenanne.

It was a closely fought encounter with two goals for the hosts on either side of the third quarter break proving decisive. Rovers pulled a goal back with just over six minutes left but were unable to find an equaliser.

The Rathfarnham side went ahead from their first circle entry on nine minutes, some lovely one-touch hockey from Evan Jennings and Ross Canning providing the chance for Ryan Spencer to net at the far post.

Garvey levelled matters seven minutes later when Ryan Getty’s cross from the left was met by Ben Nelson who finished high into the net from close range.

After a relatively featureless second quarter, James Corry shot wide from a penalty corner and then Rovers keeper Ben Whelan saved at full-strength from Ben Nelson’s powerful effort from the edge of the D.

On 51 minutes, it was 2-1 to the Hillsborough side, Peter McKibbin scoring from the penalty spot after Corry’s set-piece shot had struck a defender’s foot.

Eight minutes into the final quarter, James Lorimer rifled home a penalty corner to make it 3-1.

Rovers reduced the deficit when Spencer got his second from close range from a rebound off James Milliken’s pads but it was too little, too late.

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Two huge top-table clashes in EY Hockey League

The top of the table in both the men’s and women’s EY Hockey Leagues could be in for a big shake-up on Saturday with Pembroke meeting Pegasus in the latter while Lisnagarvey host Three Rock Rovers in the former.

With a third of the season almost complete, the main contenders have started to emerge in recent weeks with Pembroke’s women looking to force their way into the reckoning this term.

In the women’s competition, four matches have been brought forward from December due to the Junior World Cup, meaning rematches from the opening days of the campaign when Pembroke drew with Pegasus.

The Ballsbridge club have steadily added strong players to their line-up over the past few seasons with midfielder Ellen Curran (from UCD) and defender Issy Delamer (Trinity) adding real quality this term.

With Orla Macken also pushing for inclusion in the senior Irish setup, Emma Buckley between the posts and the likes of Sinead Loughran, Aisling Naughton and Leah McGuire in the line-up, there is quality in each area of the field.

For coach Gavin Groves, he feels the side are in a good spot, one point behind Pegasus with four wins from six outings to date. A win on Saturday at Serpentine Avenue could potentially see them leap-frog their rivals and go top.

Pembroke’s Ellen Curran. Picture: Adrian Boehm

“We are happy enough with the form we have shown. We had a really tough start to the league so to be sitting in the top 3 at this stage is ok. Every week is difficult and brings a tough opponent but it’s good to be involved in such a competitive league.

“We know how organised and disciplined Pegasus can be so we know we will have to perform well to get the result we want.”

For Pegasus, their tricky forwards Taite Doherty and Lucy McKee have put in serious star turns to date this season to lift the Belfast side to the top of the table at this stage.

There is a wealth of experience at hand with Shirley McCay, Alex Speers and Ruth Maguire offering guidance to new stars like Niamh McIvor and Ella Armstrong.

Craig McGrugan took on the coaching reins this summer and is comfortable with how his side has progressed, saying: “It’s been a very competitive first third of the season with some very tight, exciting games. So far we’ve been making progress game by game but this weekend will be another step up. We will have to perform at our best to come back to Belfast with any sort of positive result

“Pembroke have an excellent side playing a very good brand of hockey. They are a good passing side so the contest in the middle third of the pitch will be key.”

There will be plenty checking their Twitter feeds for score updates just down the road in Milltown where Old Alex – equal second on 13 points – host Belfast Harlequins.

UCD have been the league’s entertainers to date, their matches yielding almost five goals a game. They host Catholic Institute at Belfield in a lunchtime tip-off, an important for the sides in fourth and fifth to keep contact with the leading trio.

Likewise, sixth placed Railway Union meet Loreto for the third time already this term; the first EYHL meeting was a draw while Railway prevailed in a shoot-out in the Irish Senior Cup so expect this one to be extremely tight. Cork Harlequins’ date with Muckross has remained in its original December date.

On the men’s side, there is just one game on the EYHL agenda from which any winner between Lisnagarvey and Three Rock Rovers will catapult themselves into pole position after Glenanne fell to their first defeat of the season last weekend.

It is a back match from early October when Three Rock were involved in the Euro Hockey League in Antwerp.

Lisnagarvey coach Erroll Lutton. Picture: Adrian Boehm

Garvey won their last meeting just over 12 months ago in a cracker at Comber Road 4-2 but Rovers have a much changed line-up since then with five players emigrating for professional hockey or work reasons.

In their stead, Ryan Spencer and Matteo Romoli have made big impacts since joining the club along with the return of Ali Empey, Mark Samuel and Andrew Keane from UCD.

For Garvey, they are more settled in terms of line-up with the three Nelson brothers causing havoc in the forward lines, going on a run of four successive wins in the EYHL.

Coach Erroll Lutton says his side have been “playing well for the last few weeks and we want to build on that in this next period with a run of games with no interruptions up until the winter break.

“Three Rock have certainly been playing some good hockey and scoring quite a few goals. With some new faces in their team they certainly seem to have gelled quickly and found some momentum and consistency early in the season.”

Rovers coach Elun Hack is similarly complementary of Saturday’s opponents, saying: “Garvey are a quality team, and their performance and results over the past couple of disrupted seasons, and before are testimony to that.

“They are a very well organised team, hard to score against, and very dangerous on attack, with some seriously good talent in their forward line.

“Limiting their chances and creating our own is going to be the biggest challenge for us… getting that balance right.

“Our team is coming together nicely; huge amounts of process have been made and some of the goals and performances we have put together recently support that. However, there is still lots of work to do for this group to reach their full potential.”

Three Rock Rovers Matteo Romoli. Picture: Adrian Boehm

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Annadale end long wait for victory in men’s EYHL

Men’s EY Hockey League – day six round-up
UCD 0 Annadale 4 (D Tremlett 2, O McElhinney, M Robson)

Annadale landed their first men’s EY Hockey League victory in over three years as David Tremlett’s double put them on course for a big 4-0 victory over UCD.

Dale had been tough to beat thus far this season with four draws from five outings but an elusive victory had proven just out of reach in the Covid-effected 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons.

But this success puts them in the highest they have been since the introduction of the season-long all-Ireland competition, six points clear of the relegation places in seventh place.

Tremlett’s double in the 16th and 20th minutes laid the perfect base for the victory; the first came when Adam McAllister’s impudent flick from the baseline looped high off goalkeeper Matthew Hoolohan O’Brien and Tremlett was there to bat it in. He then finished off from James Clark’s run around the right baseline after a corner move was only partially cleared.

They had the ball in the net a third time when Chris Morrow’s crash ball in from just outside the circle was deflected in by a defensive stick; after a check to clarify if the ball was inside or outside the D, it did not stand.

UCD’s best chances saw Peter Lynch shut down by Sam Hamill who also dealt with a Harry Lynch drag in the third quarter. But the game was put out of sight when Michael Robson exchanged a lovely one-two and then shot into the backboard on his reverse for 3-0.

And Owen McElhinney closed out the scoring with a low corner push with 15 minutes to go.

UCD’s Sam Walker lays off a pass. Pic: Adrian Boehm

YMCA 0 Lisnagarvey 3 (M Nelson, O Kidd, B Nelson)
Lisnagarvey made it four wins in succession as Matthew Nelson and Ollie Kidd had Garvey 2-0 up before the end of the first quarter and the game was settled in the closing quarter by Ben Nelson. James Milliken ensured a clean sheet with a late penalty stroke save from Ben Campbell.

After an initial exchange of corners, Garvey went in front from their second set piece when Jakim Bernsden saved a corner but Ben Nelson retrieved the ball and squared for his brother Matthew to tap in.

And it was 2-0 in the 15th minute, an interception from a YM free-out being returned with interest with Daniel Nelson slipping the ball to Kidd to crack home on his backhand.

Garvey had a number of big chances to extend their lead the Y did almost finish the half on a high when Adam Walker saw his corner flick saved off the line. The Ulster side moved further out of reach when Matthew Nelson’s upright reverse-stick shot went high to the back post where Ben Nelson finished off for 3-0.

YM fought hard to get something out of the tie and Fionn Marriott earned the stroke but Milliken proved equal to Campbell’s low effort, getting down low to keep it out.

Corinthian 3 (C Futcher 2, M Neill) Banbridge 4 (C Rowe 2, P Brown, A Tinney)
Banbridge just about held on for their second win of the season in a remarkable contest in which Bann led 4-0 at half-time only to come under serious threat in the second half.

Philip Brown opened the scoring which was followed up quickly by a brace from Charlie Rowe – three goals in a seven-minute spell – and Alexander Tinney then added what proved to be a vital fourth goal before the big break.

Annadale’s Owen McElhinney celebrates his goal. Pic: Adrian Boehm

The second half was all the reds as Max Neill got them on the scoreboard before Chad Futcher fired home his fifth and sixth goals in the league this season from corners. But Bann held on for the win which lifts them up to fifth place in the table.

Monkstown 1 (G Sarratt) Glenanne 0
Guy Sarratt’s penalty corner piledriver 11 minutes from time saw Monkstown end Glenanne’s perfect start to the men’s EY Hockey League season. It was the only goal of a tightly-fought contest that has seen the Glens come back into range of the likes of Three Rock Rovers and Lisnagarvey while Town strengthened their place in the top four.

Three Rock Rovers 6 (M Samuel 2, E Jennings 2, B Johnson, A Keane) Pembroke 2 (A Sothern, G Chambers)
Three Rock Rovers eased to a comfortable 6-2 win over an understrength Pembroke who were without half a dozen players for the contest at Grange Road.

Rovers were 2-0 up in the first quarter as Ben Johnson’s third minute drag-flick was followed up by Mark Samuel popping home at the right post after a wave of attacks. Pembroke got one back when Julian Dale’s glorious long pass found Greg Chambers on the left wing and he put it on a plate for Alan Sothern to slide onto.

But Three Rock went out of sight when Mark Duggan saw yellow and in his absence, Samuel again overlapping on the right to intercept and thump home from the top of the circle before Evan Jennings scrambled in the next. Jennings then got a wonderful deflection from a pc move to make it 5-1 at half-time

The pace slowed in the second half but Johnson was denied another by the crossbar with another drag before Andy Keane got the Rovers’ sixth, a corner deflection from Jody Hosking’s slap.

Johnson was also required at the far end to deny a Sothern effort off the line. Chambers got one back in the fourth quarter from the second phase of a corner. Rovers were awarded a stroke soon after when Ali Empey’s shot hit a body on the line but it was subsequently ruled out for an earlier infringement.

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Railway land big win over UCD as Pegasus continue to fly high

** Zara Delany celebrates her second goal for Railway Union against UCD. Picture: Adrian Boehm

Women’s EY Hockey League – day six round-up
Belfast Harlequins 0 Pembroke 1 (C Foley)

Claire Foley’s first-half goal sealed Pembroke a narrow win over Belfast Harlequins at sun splashed Deramore Park.

It was a game of precious few chances and only one penalty corner which the hosts failed to convert late on. Pembroke got what turned out to be the crucial goal from the first opportunity of the game on 33 minutes.

Sinead Loughran picked up a loose ball 25 yards out and found Aisling Naughton who had two shots saved by Susie Taylor in the Quins goal. The second rebound fell to Foley who volleyed high in to the net from close range. Pembroke had the better of the chances after the long break with Taylor denying Naughton and Sally Campbell.

Quins will have been disappointed at their failure to create any genuine chances from open play in the entire 70 minutes.

Jenna Watt sees a shot saved by Emma Buckley. Picture: Billy Pollock

They were awarded the game’s only penalty corner in the 63rd minute and Jenna Watt had two efforts saved by Emma Buckley at the far post for their only shots on target.

The result means Harlequins slumped to a third successive defeat while Pembroke stay in title contention with the win they just about deserved on the balance of play.

Old Alex 5 (N Evans 3, L Tice, M O’Donnell) Cork Harlequins 2 (R Walsh, L O’Shea)
Old Alex remain with a point of leaders Pegasus as five first half goals saw them get the better of Cork Harlequins in Milltown. Lena Tice gave them an early lead from a corner to the left corner before Nikki Evans got the first of her hat trick when she dived onto the end of Sarah Robinson’s run and cross from the right corner.

The third goal was the pick of the bunch as Abbie Russell broke out of defence, picked out Deirdre Duke overlapping on the right. Her cross again found Evans sliding to get the touch in.

Ruby Walsh got one back for Quins from their first corner when she reacted quickest after Michelle Barry’s shot hit the first runner’s foot, picking out a nice angle to find the bottom corner.

But another Duke cross found Evans and Orna Bools in the middle with both going for the touch in, the former getting the credit for the final touch. Millie O’Donnell swept in another corner for 5-1 at half-time after Tice had hit the post.

The second half was a more even affair with Harlequins getting the only goal when they turned over the ball deep in the Alex circle and Leah O’Shea thumped home her shot.

Pegasus 3 (L McKee, N McIvor, A Speers) Muckross 1 (L Hanlon)
Pegasus maintained their place at the top of the women’s EYHL with a 3-1 win over Muckross at Queen’s. It was built on a super first 10 minutes with Lucy McKee breaking the deadlock with her fourth goal of the season and Niamh McIvor got the next soon after.

Muckross, though, reduced the deficit to 2-1 from a well-worked penalty corner move, switched left and then back to the injector Laura Hanlon.

Muckross on the attack against Pegasus. Picture: Billy Pollock

But Alex Speers made the game safe in the 44th minute when Taite Doherty produced a piece of magic, weaving in from the left sideline through a couple of tackles before delivering a backhand cross which the former Irish captain guided home.

The hosts held sway for much of the second half and Aoife Glennon did save a Pegasus penalty stroke while Muckross also had their chances on the counter but they remain on one point.

UCD 1 (S Thomas) Railway Union 2 (Z Delany)
Zara Delany’s double gave Railway Union their third win of the campaign and kept them connected with the leading sides in the women’s EYHL. UCD were the first side to go close when both of the Carey twins went close with Railway scrambling away the chance.

Railway, meanwhile, almost turned a UCD corner into the opening goal via an outstanding counter, created by Orla Patton’s 60-metre pass. The opening goal came when Emma Smyth’s driving run was followed by a slip pass to Kate Dillon who squared for Delany to finish off.

Her second came in the second half from a corner move, guided back to the injector’s area where Delany had time to control and flick high in off the underside of the crossbar.

UCD got one back with plenty of time remaining in the fourth quarter when Sophie Thomas controlled a looping high ball and cracked home. And the students threw everything into the closing phases with Michelle Carey’s high shot blocked by Riona Norton, Katherine Egan’s ball flashing across the face of goal and Sophia Cole’s last minute shot went over the bar.

Catholic Institute 1 (N Carroll) Loreto 0
Naomi Carroll’s single goal in the 48th minute gave Catholic Institute an important win to lift the Limerick side back into the top four in the table while Loreto drop a place to seventh.

The sole goal was a work of art, the ball being worked from right back around the back to left midfield and then back inside where Carroll spun into space and unleashed a fierce shot.

In the first quarter, Loreto had the best chance, drawing a cracking save from Pam Smithwick in the closing action. Carroll drew a high glove save from Lizzie Murphy in the second period while the Limerick side had a wealth of corner chances which they could not convert in the third quarter.

Smithwick got down low to tip away a Hannah Matthews corner shot just before the only goal.

Loreto had big chances to get level with a cross just going out of reach of Yasmin Pratt from the left wing while there was a big debate when Matthews smashed in a shot. The effort, though, was disallowed with the shot deemed to have been outside the circle.

The Dublin side had a couple of corner chances denied while Insta had two big chances to make the result more comfortable but Murphy was outstanding both times.