Men’s EY Hockey League – day 14 round-up
Monkstown 4 (D Carson 2, G Sarratt, J Duncan) Annadale 1 (M Robson)

A brilliant four-goal burst in the first quarter saw Monkstown ease to victory over Annadale at Rathdown, moving into a share of third place.

Davy Carson was at his effervescent best and he broke the deadlock a couple of minutes in when he peeled away to take in Guy Sarratt’s rocket of a pass in his stride. His control was followed by an outstanding reverse-stick to the top corner.

He was denied an instant second when he pumped into the goal but was deemed to have shielded in the build-up. It was 2-0, however, via a brilliant team goal when Lee Cole clipped a pass which Theo Kohlmann controlled well before passing on to Rhys Armah-Kwantreng who found Jeremy Duncan; he flicked in on the turn.

Duncan played a heavy role in goal three with some aerial juggling before hitting the post with Sarratt on hand to clean up the rebound. And their scoring was complete by the 15th minute when Kohlmann picked out Carson whose snap-shot on the turn made its way in.

Annadale steadied after the first break and had a couple of good chances through Michael Robson while Sam Hamill blocked a couple of chances with acrobatic saves.

Into the second half, Sarratt flicked a stroke wide moments before Dale got on the board from the spot, themselves, after David Tremlett was fouled; Michael Robson popped it in. Both sides had four more corners in the second half but none were converted.

Banbridge 2 (Ph Brown, C Rowe) Glenanne 2 (R Couse, S O’Donoghue)
Banbridge and Glenanne’s potential title chances were both setback as their draw – allied to wins to the sides around them – left them almost out of range.

Richard Couse got the only goal of the first half but Bann turned things around in the second half with Philip Brown and Charlie Rowe both scoring. Shane O’Donoghue’s penalty stroke equalised at 2-2 before the end of Q3.

Glenanne are now four points of top spot while Banbridge are in fifth with six points to make up on Lisnagarvey and four to Three Rock in the second EY Champions Trophy place.

Banbridge’s Jonny McKee flicks past Glenanne goalkeeper David Lawless. Pic: Billy Pollock

Lisnagarvey 7 (A Edgar 2, D Nelson 2, M McKibbin, O Kidd, M Nelson) Pembroke 1 (J Dale)
Lisnagarvey put struggling Pembroke to the sword to maintain their slender two-point lead at the top of the men’s EY Hockey League, running up a comprehensive 7-1 win at Comber Road.

It also ended a remarkable series which saw the lead change hands in each of the last six rounds of fixtures as Garvey built on last week’s significant 3-2 success over Three Rock Rovers.

Garvey took a while to get up and running as a series of close changes went incomplete in the first quarter but they never really looked back after the in-form Ollie Kidd put them in front in the 20th minute.

A phenomenal Daniel Nelson doubled up before half-time and they soon raced away in the second half with the eldest Nelson brother getting his second. Andy Edgar made it a personal three goals in three games from the penalty spot and he duly added another via the same method for 5-0.

Matthew Nelson and Matthew McKibbin both chipped in before Julian Dale got a consolation goal for the Dubliners who remain in the relegation zone as a result.

Three Rock Rovers 3 (A Haughton 2, E Jennings) Corinthian 2 (I Stewart 2)
Three Rock Rovers nicked all the points from a feisty Dublin 16 derby, Evan Jennings scoring the crucial goal with nine minutes to go despite his side being down to nine players at the time.

Three Rock got off to a strong start with Ali Haughton scoring twice in the first 10 minutes; his first followed a right-wing attack that broke to him at the left post where he controlled and flicked in.

His second was an outrageous effort, a ball deflecting his way at pace and two feet off the ground; he swung on his backhand and caught it perfectly, leaving goalkeeper Simon Thornton standing.

Corinthian got back into the game from a smart quick free, Andrew Sutton finding Peter Caruth in the D and he laid off a pass to Ian Stewart for a simple finish.

Haughton went close to a hat trick from another volley, Thornton saving well. Ben Whelan did likewise at the far end with a brilliant stick stop early in the second half but Stewart did make it 2-2 with a virtuoso piece of work, catching a loose ball, beating a player and then chipping into the top corner.

Rovers went into foul trouble in the second half, picking up three yellows but still had slightly the better of the chances in the closing quarter. Jennings took the crucial one, cleaning up after Ross Canning’s shot was parried his way. The reds had a last second corner which Caruth slapped at goal but Harry McMahon guided it around the post to ensure a scrappy three points.

YMCA 3 (A Walker, G Glutz, A Meates) UCD 2 (S Byrne, K O’Dea)
YMCA took another big step toward both an EY Champions Trophy spot and confirmed safety in the EYHL for next season with their win over UCD.

The students did go in front early on when good pressure led to a goal from Sam Byrne, tapping in at the back post and they had a couple of corners to extend the lead in a lively opening spell, drawing good stops from Jakim Bernsden.

The Y, though, were also notching up the chances with Ben Campbell hitting the post in the first quarter before Adam Walker’s corner made it 1-1 from a corner flick. Grant Glutz added the next from a penalty stroke and they had a further effort ruled out just before half-time following a much more controlled spell.

Andrew Meates stretched the lead out to 3-1 in the 43rd minute from play despite UCD pressure until the very last minute when Kevin O’Dea scored a final hooter corner goal.

Day 14 match reports

Catholic Institute 1 (N Carroll) Pegasus 0 

Catholic Institute continued their winning streak with Naomi Carroll’s single goal making it six wins in succession, putting them within two points of leaders Pembroke, now with a game in hand. 

It was different from many of their recent swashbuckling wins as they had to withhold a second half onslaught as Pegasus threw everything forward but could not find the crucial touch.  

Early on, Carroll’s reverse went close in the opening moments, going across the face of goal. Lucy McKee did likewise from a swift overload move down the right wing for Pegs 

The Ulster side did have the ball in the net from their second corner, albeit via Alex Speers’ foot from Shirley McCay’s slap.  

That was before the game’s defining moment when Hannah Kelly blocked a clearance in the Pegasus circle and retrieved the ball, pulling the ball back to Róisín Upton who found Carroll on the right post to pop in. 

Corner drags from Anna Horan and Upton were kept out in the third quarter while Kelly’s lengthy run almost created a second. But Pegasus were building pressure with Niamh McIvor denied by an excellent Pam Smithwick stop while the corner count built to five with the pick of the chances falling to McKee but it was skewed wide. 

Insta were almost able to breathe a bit easier when Pegs swapped out their goalkeeper for an extra outfielder but Carroll was unable to cash in on an opportunity. 

 

Pembroke 0 Railway Union 0 

Pembroke were left frustrated as the base of the post denied a final quarter penalty stroke as the table-toppers drew for the third time in four outings as they shared a scoreless draw with near neighbours Railway Union. 

Railway started the better and had good chances when Alex Gallagher found Sarah Patton but Emma Buckley saved her flick well. Eanna Horan went close with Pembroke’s big chance of the first quarter. 

The second quarter was tight with Pembroke starting it strong while Riona Norton produced an excellent double-save, denying Sinead Loughran’s shot on the spin and Aisling Naughton’s follow-up. 

In the second half, the main chances came from set pieces with two Pembroke corners drawing no real danger while Niamh Shaw’s slap was well blocked by Buckley. 

The big moment caem from Pembroke’s third corner when stopper Ellen Curran’s shot was deemed to be blocked by a foot in line with the goal. Pinder stepped up and sent Norton the wrong way but her stroke hit the post. 

In the closing phases, Shaw hit Railway’s third corner just wide, Pinder went close while Naughton’s through ball for Sally Campbell was dangerous but the following shot went wide. 

 

Old Alexandra 3 (N Sweeney, E Russell, A Russell) Muckross 2 (S Quill, J Balcerzak) 

Old Alex continued their good form as they made it 10 points from the last 12 available as three goals in the first 21 minutes put them on course for victory despite a big second half Muckross comeback. 

Alex built a 3-0 half-time lead as they took their chances well. The first came after Muckross never fully got set from a swift counter, set in motion by Lena Tice. Abbie Russell’s slap at goal was well blocked but Niamh Sweeney followed up with a piledriver for 1-0. 

It was 2-0 in Q2 from the first corner of the game; Mikayla Power had two shots, the latter of which bounced to Emma Russell to sweep in from the injector area. And it was three in the 21st minute when the ball broke to Abbie Russell on the back post and she unleashed a reverse-stick shot. 

Muckross were highly competitive, throughout the half, matching Alex’s corner count while a one-on-one chance showed their threat. 

And that threat materialised into goals in the second half as Sarah Quill pulled one back and then Julia Balcerzak’s direct penalty corner sweep cut the gap to the minimum. But Alex help for an important point which keeps them in the chase for a top two spot and direct qualification for the EY Champions Trophy semi-finals. 

Pembroke’s Gillian Pinder. Picture: Max Fulham

 

Belfast Harlequins 0 Loreto 2 (S Torrans, Y Pratt) 

Loreto made it three wins in a row to move up to fourth place in the table as they won at Deramore Park with a goal in each half of a tight-knit fixture. 

Chances were at a premium as Belfast Harlequins defended well while the visitors had more of the possession. The main chances came from corners with Loreto going in front in Q2 from their fourth one of the game, Hannah Matthews switching back to injector Sarah Torrans who swept in first time. 

Prior to that, goalkeeper Suzie Taylor – on her birthday – impressed with some solid blocks while Katie Larmour and Jan Kilpatrick’s driving runs were a feature for Quins. 

The second half was largely played between the 23-metre lines with Aoife Taaffe’s drag-flick the main opening for either side. 

The result was settled in the last five minute when Matthews’ long overhead set Loreto up with an overload on the right channel which was worked inside to Yasmin Pratt who dodged out of a tackle and then wedged the ball over the outrushing Taylor. 

 

UCD 4 (M Carey, R Kelly, K Egan, H McLoughlin) Cork Harlequins 1 (A Power) 

UCD moved back into the top six as they came back from a goal down to defeat Cork Harlequins 4-1 at Belfield.  

The students got off to a slow start as Quins made the early moves. In the ninth minute, Michelle Barry set UCD back-pedaling with a direct run before laying off for Aine Power who shot early on her backhand and it made it into the goal from the left of the D. 

A corner shot from Cliodhna Sargent caused some ping-pong panic in the home circle soon after before UCD began to find their flow. Katherine Egan was a pivotal figure and she created the first with a sharp turn and backhand cross which made its way to Michelle Carey to tip in at the left post. 

That made it 1-1 at half-time as the Cork side were able to keep out three corners but they could not keep out another powerful Egan reverse in Q3 to put the hosts ahead for the first time. 

While they had the majority of the pressure, the game was only fully killed off in the closing quarter. Carey created the third goal with some beautiful 3D skills from a sideline ball close to the baseline which was eventually worked to Rachel Kelly for a simple finish.  

Sargent departed in the last few minutes with a nasty injury and Hannah McLoughlin closed out the scoring on the final hooter with a corner drag-flick. 

A bumper 12 EY Hockey League top tier games and four vital EYHL2 fixtures makes for another exciting weekend as the formal prizes come ever closer into view.

After six rounds of hot potato, Lisnagarvey will hope to be the first side since November to hold onto the leadership of the men’s EY Hockey League.

Their win last Saturday over Three Rock Rovers provided a significant statement of intent and the expectation, on paper, is they would back it up against ninth placed Pembroke at home.

But the Dublin 4 side have already beaten third placed Glenanne in 2022 while Alan Sothern has come back after injury to score six times in two games.

It is their travails at the far end that has left them vulnerable, conceding on average almost four a game. Garvey were shy the services of international star Ben Nelson last week but his older brothers Matthew and Daniel bring further firepower while Ollie Kidd is maturing at serious pace.

Three Rock host Corinthian in the Marlay derby with the former dropping back off first last week after some rejigging of their forward line-up.

Corinthian have had a bit of a mixed bag of late as coach Brinsley Powell settles into the role full-time having arrived in Ireland in January. They drew with a remarkable late salvo against Garvey before losing 6-1 at home to Monkstown

Glenanne, level with Three Rock, have a real test when they go to Banbridge who – like Monkstown – are making a strong charge for the top spots.

The Glens are another who have suffered with players away while Bann host this one off the back of eight games unbeaten while Louis Rowe looking like a prodigious talent in their forward line. The last loss, though, was against Glenanne in October.

At the bottom, there is a mathematical equation that could see UCD relegated by Saturday evening if everything conspires against them. Their only point to date came against YMCA and they will need to outdo that performance on Saturday at Wesley to keep hopes of a miraculous comeback alive.

For the Y, though, another victory would all but assure them safety, leaving Corinthian, Pembroke and Annadale in the scrap to avoid relegation.

Monkstown are up against Annadale – the Ulster side produced an incredible comeback in their first meeting this season having trailed 3-0 to tie 3-3. Town have started 2022 well, winning three in a row, scoring 14 times in the process.

On the women’s side, it is a massive weekend with seven EYHL fixtures potentially set to have a big impact on the destination of the league title and the playoff places.

In some ways, Railway Union could be the swing-vote. They face the two main challengers, Pembroke on Saturday and then second placed Catholic Institute on Sunday.

For the Park Avenue outfit, it has been a hectic recent schedule with European indoors followed by a large tranche of their players being involved in the indoor series between Ireland and South Africa.

Pembroke re-established a four-point lead last Sunday with a narrow 2-1 success at Cork Harlequins, breaking a run of two successive draws that had seen their lead cut back briefly to the minimum.

Insta have been on a stunning run, scoring 27 times in five successive wins but this weekend is probably their biggest test. Saturday sees them welcome Pegasus – fourth place after back-to-back defeats – before that Railway tie in Dublin at 5pm on Sunday evening.

Third place Old Alex have a busy weekend, too, starting off against Muckross on Saturday before going north to Pegasus on Sunday. The MIlltown club have lost just once in their last nine games to stay very much in the frame in case of slips from the sides above them.

There remains a serious battle between Loreto (fifth), Railway (sixth) and UCD (seventh) to secure the quarter-final playoff places. For Loreto, they are up against Belfast Harlequins while UCD host Cork Harlequins needing results to stay in contention for a top six finish.

In EYHL2 Group 2, Monkstown became the first side mathematically guaranteed a playoff place last week when they ran up an 8-1 win at Garryduff against Cork C of I with Anna O’Flanagan scoring a hat trick.

Should they win at home against NUIG, the likelihood is they will add the automatic semi-final berth in the playoffs with a couple of games still to play.

Ards’ Zara Malseed lines up a shot against Corinthian. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Lurgan against C of I looks to be the key game in the playoff chase as third place faces fourth, the former leading the latter by two points.

In Group 1, Ards are on the brink of formalising some sort of a promotion playoff spot thanks to their 3-1 win over Corinthian last Saturday with Amy Benson netting twice and Ellen Robinson getting in on the act.

That gives them a five-point lead in Group 1 over the reds and they will be going all out now to top the table and go straight into the semi-final spots. They face third placed UCC who want to put some more distance between themselves and Trinity.

Corinthian will be hoping Ards slip in their closing games to open the door but they need to win their remaining ties, starting with away to Galway this weekend.

Elsewhere, the Irish Hockey Trophy sees Ashton make the long trip to Raphoe in their refixed semi-final.

Saturday 5th March 2022
Men
EYHL Division 1:
Banbridge v Glenanne, Havelock Park, 2.45pm; Lisnagarvey v Pembroke, Comber Road, 2pm; Monkstown v Annadale, Rathdown, 4pm; Three Rock Rovers v Corinthian, Grange Road, 12.30pm; YMCA v UCD, Wesley College, 4.45pm

Women
EYHL Division 1:
Belfast Harlequins v Loreto, Deramore Park, 2.30pm; Catholic Institute v Pegasus, Rosbrien, 1.30pm; Old Alexandra v Muckross, Milltown, 1.30pm; Pembroke Wanderers v Railway Union, Serpentine Avenue, 2.30pm; UCD v Cork Harlequins, Belfield, 1pm

EYHL Division 2 – Pool 1: Ards v UCC, Londonderry Park, 2.30pm; Galway v Corinthian, Dangan, 1pm
Pool 2: Lurgan v Cork C of I, Lurgan JHS, 1pm; Monkstown v NUIG, Rathdown, 2.10pm

Irish Hockey Trophy, semi-final: Raphoe v Ashton, Royal and Prior, 1pm

Sunday 6th March 2022
Women
EYHL Division 1:
Pegasus v Old Alex, Malone Playing Fields, 1pm; Railway Union v Catholic Institute, Park Avenue, 5pm

Women’s EYHL Division One – day 13 round-up
Old Alex 1 (Nikki Evans) Pembroke 1 (Gillian Pinder)

Old Alex and Pembroke shared the spoils from an extremely hard-fought tussle in Milltown with World Cup silver medalists Nikki Evans and Gillian Pinder trading goals.

Alex were first to strike just 68 seconds into the contest when Evans pounced on some dither in defence, picking up the ball on the circle’s edge and unleashing a brilliant reverse stick shot to match her one from a week ago.

The hosts had the momentum in this phase with Emma Russell’s shot well saved by Emma Buckley while their first of five penalty corners slipper just wide.

With a higher press in Q2, Pembroke had more of the play as they pinned Alex back for spells as both goalkeepers pulled off key stops. Emily Beatty’s quick shot was parried away by Holly Micklem while Buckley slid out to smother the menacing Mikayla Power.

Martha McCready had a huge chance snuffed out on the goal line by Micklem and the goalkeeper produced the pick of the saves from the follow-up penalty corner when she somehow blocked a corner deflected from Sally Campbell.

The equaliser for Pembroke arrived in the third quarter when Pembroke’s press swallowed up the Alex midfield, turning over ball on the 23m line. Ellen Curran slipped the ball right to Pinder who flicked across goal with a defensive intervention turning the ball in.

While Pembroke had slightly more of the ball, Alex were the ones who had the chances down the closing stretch with Evans hitting the side-netting from a corner move while two further penalty corners were blocked down in the last five minutes.

Belfast Harlequins 1 (J Watt) UCD 3 (A Naughton R Kelly, E Paul)
UCD kept up their push for a playoff place as they won well at Deramore Park, putting 10 points between them and their Saturday hosts.

The students started the livelier, forcing a corner in the first three minutes which was eventually cleared. Harlequins sustained the early pressure and started to ease up the pitch but an unfortunate slip in midfield allowed a ball through to the danger zone and Aine Naughton scored on her reverse. Although the play evened out, UCD found Michelle Carey in space on the right and she used her considerable pace to get to the byline and cross to Rachel Kelly at the left post for their second of the game.

Quarter 2 was a more even affair with some exciting hockey. Belfast Harlequins had their best chance to score from a corner but the UCD keeper made a fine save. Likewise, Q3 was honours even with not much circle penetration for either team but nonetheless entertaining hockey.

It heated up in the final quarter with Quins going down to 10 players but still found some slick two-touch hockey to get on the scoreboard as Sophie Hunter drove into the circle and made a crucial pass to Jenna Watt on the left. Watt made no mistake with the goal: 2-1.

Quins continued to press but a debated penalty corner for UCD, along with a yellow card for Natalie Lyttle, proved definitive. Emma Paul’s shot from that set piece took a deflection to kill off the result and a further yellow for the hosts stymied any hopes of a late charge.

Loreto’s Sarah Torrans gets away from Pegasus’s Emma Quinn. Pic Billy Pollock

Pegasus 0 Loreto 4 (H Matthews, S O’Brien, G Donald, S Torrans)
Loreto ran up a big win away to Pegasus to continue their hot and cold season, putting a dent in the Ulster side’s title hopes while giving their chances of a playoff place an extra pep in its step.

After a scoreless first half, Olympian Hannah Matthews broke the deadlock in the third quarter and they spun out into a 3-0 advantage courtesy of Siofra O’Brien and Grace Donald.

Pegs withdrew their goalkeeper Megan Todd for an extra outfielder for parts of the fourth quarter in a concerted bid to try and grab something from the game but it backfired with Sarah Torrans scoring into an open net. The defeat sees Pegasus drop into fourth place.

Railway Union 2 (L Lloyd, E Smyth) Muckross 0
Railway spent much of the first half on the front foot with Muckross’s defence called on to make a series of important blocks with Aoife Glennon busy in goal while Julia Balcerzak and Ella Malone clearing up off the pads.

The first goal came on the half-hour as Sarah Hawkshaw cut in from the right wing and laid on a perfect slide-rule pass to set Lily Lloyd free. She dummied right to creat a narrower angle but, crucially, an extra sliver of space to flick home from close to the baseline at the near post.

The pattern was a similar one in the second half with Railway pushing on and Muckross defending feverishly with Hawkshaw’s pump at goal well blocked by Glennon. Lily Lloyd picked out her older sister Kate in behind the last defender for another great chance but she was unable to connect with her reverse-stick effort.

Muckross, though, developed as more and more of a threat as time wore on and – after a series of three corners – Catalina Paz Montino hit the post from the second phase of one set play.

Railway Union’s Sarah Hawkshaw takes on Muckross’s Becky McMullen. Picture: Max Fulham

But the vital second goal arrived in the 51st minute when Niamh Shaw, Lily Lloyd and Ailish Long combined down the left channel, getting the ball into the middle where Emma Smyth swept home.

Catholic Institute 6 (N Carroll 2, A Horan, R Upton, A Hickey, E Ryan) Cork Harlequins 1 (L O’Shea)
Catholic Institute closed the Saturday night gap to one point in the women’s EYHL with their fifth successive win. They did fall behind in the first 10 minutes when Leah O’Shea as the bottom side dreamt of a shock result.

But Insta were firing in the second quarter when Olympic duo Róisín Upton and Naomi Carroll combined, the latter finishing off to make it 1-1. Anna Horan put the Limerick side in front for the first time when she dragged in a penalty corner before half-time and Upton matched that feat on the other side of the break.

Aoife Hickey extended the lead to 4-1 and Upton’s hit was turned in by Elizabeth Ryan for another one. Carroll closed out the scoring for a comprehensive win.

Sunday: Cork Harlequins 1 (Beth-Anne O’Farrell) Pembroke 2 (Gillian Pinder, Aisling Naughton)
Pembroke restored some breathing room when they dug deep to beat Cork Harlequins 2-1. Beth-Anne O’Farrell had put Quins in line for a shock result with a 49th minute penalty corner goal but Pembroke rallied quickly with Pinder netting a penalty stroke and Rachel O’Brien got the winner in the 53rd minute.

Pembroke went on the attack from the start, drawing a series of excellent saves from Lorna Bateman while Quins were holding their own in trying to disrupt Pembroke’s flowing hockey in the first half. All the fireworks came in a four minute spell toward the end of the third quarter and while Quins fought hard in the closing quarter, Pembroke picked up three more precious points to rebuild a four-point lead at the top of the table.

Men’s EY Hockey League – day 13 round-up
Three Rock Rovers 2 (R Canning) Lisnagarvey 3 (D Nelson, A Edgar, O Kidd)

Lisnagarvey won a top-table classic to move back to the top of the men’s EY Hockey League table as they beat previous leaders Three Rock Rovers 3-2.

It was their second successive win at Grange Road, winning 2-0 in the Irish Senior Cup a week ago, with this tie a far more open affair.

Garvey looked in good shape to win with something to spare when Ollie Kidd set up Daniel Nelson for a simple finish in the first half and Andy Edgar whipped in a penalty corner drag-flick.

But Rovers came storming back in the third quarter and got a deserved one back via Ross Canning’s outstanding reverse-stick shot that ripped into the netting.

Rovers looked well set to potentially level it in Q3 but Garvey steadied the ship and went into a 3-1 lead courtesy of Kidd’s goal from another set piece.

In the endgame, Peter Blakeney cracked a shot off the post with James Milliken getting an incredible touch to redirect it and the goalkeeper also brilliantly smothered Harry McMahon’s deflection.

James Walker smashed in a second for Rovers with two minutes to go before Matthew Nelson became the next player to rattle the metalwork with a powerful shot pinging off the crossbar.

It puts Garvey into a two-point lead at the head of the table with Rovers dropping back to second, level on points with Glenanne who were 5-2 winners over UCD.

“It’s been tough coming two weeks in a row here and it is always tough against these guys so delighted to come away with the points,” said goalkeeper Milliken post-match, highlighting how his side toughed up a concerted second half onslaught.

“We work really hard on our PCD [penalty corner defence] and it is one of our points of pride; sometimes its guys picking it off the line, sometimes are runners charging it down and occasionally I have to do a job!”

Lisnagarvey’s Troy Chambers and Three Rock Rovers’ Peter Blakeney. Pic: Adrian Boehm

It is the sixth successive round the lead has changed hands in the competition and Milliken says it keeps Garvey on alert that there is a long way to go.

“It is a significant win but we have to keep our feet on the ground. There’s five games left and a lot of teams playing well – Glenanne going well, Banbridge doing great stuff.

“You have to play well every week, have that as a baseline and not as a peak. Every team is working so hard this year and it is one of the most competitive years we’ve had and it forces you to be better every week.”

Annadale 2 (C Robson 2) YMCA 5 (H McCarthy 2, F Marriott 2, A Meates)
YMCA won a huge three-points at Annadale to move five points clear of the relegation zone and also give them a buffer in sixth place in the chase of the playoff places.

It took just two minutes for them to open the scoring with Harry McCarthy picking up the ball wide on the right and delivering an inviting cross for Fionn Marriott to deflect on his backhand.

There was just five minutes on the clock when Dale levelled, again a right-wing cross that was turned in first time, this one by Callum Robson with an open side slap. YM hit back when Scott Ruttle powered through the middle and while a couple of bodies were sent sprawling, Andrew Meates cracked home a reverse-stick shot for 2-1.

For the remainder of the half, Annadale laid siege to the YM circle but they could not make the most of five penalty corner opportunities. The visitors were proving far more efficient, through, as they grew their lead out to 3-1 in the third quarter as a diagonal overhead from Sam Hyland created an overload with the cross going to McCarthy to sweep in his first of the day.

Annadale bounced back with Michael Robson’s slip pass through to Callum Robson allowed the latter slam in his second, cutting the gap to 3-2. But they were wide open at the back and another long ball saw McCarthy through one-on-one with Sam Hamill and he rounded the goalkeeper fo 4-2.

Matthew Walker’s long overhead from left back made it all the way through to Marriott, again behind the last defender, and he slotted home with nine minutes to go and a big three points were assured.

Pembroke 3 (A Sothern 2, G Chambers) Banbridge 5 (Ph Brown, J McKee, O Magee, J Moffett, L Rowe)
Banbridge continued their excellent form, extending their run to eight games unbeaten as they won a goalfest at Serpentine Avenue. It was a measure of things to come that Owen Magee drew the first save from Ilko Dartsch just 10 seconds in.

Pembroke hit the front soon after when Greg Chambers cleaned up off the pads of Luke Roleston following an initial save from Cian Murphy. Bann replied with Philip Brown dragging down the middle from their first corner and they went 2-1 ahead from the penalty spot.

Annadale’s Michael Robson holds off YMCA’s Matthew Walker. Picture: Billy Pollock

Brown’s initially drag was parried high in the air where Jonny McKee batted it goalwards onto the body of Nick Burns; McKee slotted the stroke. It was 2-2 at half-time, though, as Sothern produced one of his trick moves at corner time, dribbling, lifting then bunting home from close range.

Bann restored their lead in the second half when, after some strong Pembroke blocks, a long corner was played to Magee whose shot from a tight angle snuck in. Josh Moffett made it 4-2 in the 44th minute when Alexander Tinney made it all the way up to Louis Rowe; he slipped the ball to Moffett who had a simple tap-in.

A direct Alan Sothern drag brought the contest back into focus but Banbridge killed off the game with nine minutes to go as the Co Down side hunted in packs to turn over the ball on halfway. The ball was fed forward to Rowe who was a handful all game and he dummied the goalkeeper before scoring.

Pembroke had a series of late corners but none hit the sweet spot and so they remain in ninth place while Bann move within two points of second place for the first time since the second day of the season.

Glenanne 5 (S O’Donoghue 4, G Gibney) UCD 2 (S Byrne, H Lynch)
Shane O’Donoghue netted two strokes and two corners to see Glenanne move back into second place with a 5-2 win at St Andrew’s. Gavin Gibney opened the scoring for the Glens with a diving finish to a backhand cross from the left-wing before the students replied with Sam Byrne finishing off in the wake of a turnover move on halfway.

But then O’Donoghue took over, making it 2-1 at half-time from the penalty spot after his initial drag hit a foot on the goal-line. He went direct to make it 3-1 with a direct shot, one which UCD countered with a corner goal of their own from Harry Lynch.

O’Donoghue, though, completed his hat trick in the 58th minute and he made the results extra safe with his second stroke, again awarded after his drag hit a UCD body on the line.

Corinthian 1 (P Caruth) Monkstown 6 (D Carson 2, L Cole 2, G Sarratt, M Gibbons)
Monkstown eased to a strong win over Corinthian to close the gap to the top of the table and put themselves in the frame for a possible top two finish and direct qualification for the EY Champions Trophy finals weekend.

It was 2-0 at half-time and while Peter Caruth got one back for the reds in the third quarter, Monkstown race off into the distance with Davy Carson and Lee Cole scoring twice each with Guy Sarratt and Mark Gibbons also chipping in.

It’s one of the busiest dates of the season thus far with 11 crucial EYHL top tier games, four more in EYHL2 along with Irish Hockey Challenge knock-out ties and men’s interpro action on Sunday.

In the men’s EYHL, Three Rock Rovers and Lisnagarvey reprise their Irish Senior Cup meeting from a week ago with top spot in the table up for grabs. Garvey won round one 2-0 with a composed performance but Rovers have a couple of forwards returning to the line-up who could make a difference.

In the bottom half of the table, there are loads of permutations with Annadale, YMCA, Corinthian and Pembroke all lying between the cusp of the EY Champions Trophy playoff places and possible relegation.

The pivotal tie looks to be Annadale’s hosting of YMCA; the lie one and two points above the drop zone respectively. Pembroke, meanwhile, will aim to carry their win over Glenanne into a home date with an in-form Banbridge.

Corinthian will look to the double over Monkstown to aid their chances while the Glens host UCD, the latter needing close to a miracle to avoid the drop.

In the Irish Hockey Challenge, Waterford will look to continue their dominant form when they host Mullingar in the quarter-final while Limerick welcome Midleton in the other tie.

On the women’s side, leaders Pembroke and bottom side Cork Harlequins face a double weekend with the two meeting on Sunday. Before that, Pembroke have a big test against third equal Old Alex on Saturday as they seek to maintain their lead at the top.

Any slip, though, could open the door for Catholic Institute to put on more pressure; they host Cork Quins in the Munster derby.

Pegasus face Loreto in another classic encounter while Railway Union will hope not to have too much fatigue in their legs following their indoor exertions when they welcome Muckross to Park Avenue.

In EYHL2, the two Pool 1 leaders are in action with Corinthian facing Ards at Whitechurch Park with both sitting on 17 points, 10 clear of UCC and Trinity. As such, it is a de facto battle for top spot while the two student sides meet in the other game to try and keep their playoff hopes going.

In Group 2, Monkstown take their perfect record to Cork C of I while second place Queen’s go to NUIG in search of points to maintain their hold on second spot.

The women’s Irish Hockey Challenge is at the semi-final stage with Clonakilty welcoming NICS while Wexford go up to Bangor in two of the longest journeys undertaken this season.

Sunday’s interpros see Ulster face Munster at Under-16, 18 and 21 level in the male competitions. Ulster will hope to keep their perfect record going in the younger two age groups while Munster are aiming to reprise their earlier 3-0 win over the northern province at Under-21 level.

Saturday 26th February 2022
Men
EYHL Division 1:
Annadale v YMCA, Lagan College, 2.30pm; Corinthian v Monkstown, Whitechurch Park, 3.15pm; Glenanne v UCD, St. Andrews, 1.30pm; Pembroke v Banbridge, Serpentine Avenue, 2.30pm; Three Rock Rovers v Lisnagarvey, Grange Road, 3pm

Irish Hockey Challenge – Quarter-Finals: Limerick v Midleton, Villiers, 2pm; Waterford v Mullingar, Newtown, 1pm

Women
EYHL Division 1:
Belfast Harlequins v UCD, Deramore Park, 12.45pm; Catholic Institute v Cork Harlequins, Rosbrien, 1pm; Old Alex v Pembroke, Milltown, 1.30pm; Pegasus v Loreto, Queens University, 12.45pm; Railway Union v Muckross, Park Avenue, 3pm

EYHL Division 2 – Pool 1: Corinthian v Ards, Whitechurch Park, 1.15pm; UCC v Trinity @ Mardyke, 2.30pm
Pool 2: Cork C of I v Monkstown, Garryduff, 3pm; NUIG v Queens University, Dangan, 1.50pm

Irish Hockey Challenge – Semi-Final: Bangor v Wexford, Bangor Aurora, 2.30pm; Clonakilty v NICS, Clonakilty, 2pm

Sunday 27th February 2022
Men
Interprovicincial series
Under-16:
Ulster v Munster, Grange Road, 3pm
Under-18: Ulster v Munster, Grange Road, 3pm
Under-21: Ulster v Munster, Grange Road, 3pm

Women
EYHL Division 1:
Cork Harlequins v Pembroke, Farmers’ Cross, 1.15pm

It was a quiet weekend in the women’s EY Hockey League with one game each in Divisions One and Two, initially postponed from before Christmas.

Women’s EY Hockey League
Old Alex 1 (A Russell) Pegasus 0

Old Alex won an enthralling, if not high scoring game, with Abbie Russell’s single goal just before the end of the third quarter lifting the Milltown side up to a share of third spot with each club now having played 12 games.

Pegasus had the better of the first half with Alex Speers getting a lot of joy on the right sided attack but she came up against Holly Micklem – following her recent call-up to the Irish senior squad for their trip to France – who was in super form.

The ball seemed magnetised to the goalkeeper’s boot as she kicked away four corner shots and brilliantly slid out to deny Speers when through one-on-one. Lena Tice was also impressive with timely tackles and interceptions as the Dubliners hung tough.

In the second, half Old Alex took the upper hand and created some good chances from open play, causing panic stations when Millie O’Donnell, Jessica McGirr and Tice all testing Megan Todd in one melee.

McGirr had a goal initially awarded when her rising slap went up off Shirley McCay’s back and over Todd; after consultation, it was ruled out for the danger created.

Alex did get their goal when Niamh Sweeney slid a backhand pass to Mikayla Power whose one-time deflection across goal was out of reach of the goalkeeper to the back post where Abbie Russell was waiting to apply a diving tip-in.

The hosts ran up a couple more corners and Emma Russell went close with a powerful shot but without the insurance goal, the game remained lively right through to the final whistle.

EY Hockey League Division 2, Group A: Corinthian 3 (L Motyer 2, C Seggie) Galway 0
Laura Motyer’s double helped Corinthian move into a share of top spot in Group A of the women’s EYHL DIvision 2 Group A, seeing off a tough challenge from Galway.

In the early phases, the Connacht side put it up to the Leinster team at Whitechurch Park, winning a couple of corners which caused plenty of danger as Alyssa Manley, Elaine Carey and Rachel Kelly caused plenty of danger.

It was scoreless after the first quarter but Corinthian began to take greater control over the game in Q2 with Camila Arbulo getting things motoring. They took the lead when Christine Seggie scored on the half hour via a corner.

The second half saw that second quarter pattern continue and the reds moved further clear with Jessica Meeke the creator and Motyer the scorer on two occasions. Their first interaction saw Meeke slide a backhand pass into the danger zone for 2-0 on 45 minutes and they reprised that link-up in the last 10 minutes for the third.

At the mid-point in this group, Corinthian join Ards on 17 points, 10 clear of third placed UCC.

“After a tough first half, we finally got a bit of momentum which are key for us to progress in this league,” said Motyer after the win.

“They were hard to break down, very strong defensively and fair play, too, to our defence who are always strong. We take it one game at a time and hopefully we will be there for the playoffs at the end of the season.

For Galway’s part, player-coach Manley – an Olympian from 2016 – said her side’s performance was a big step-up for them in their maiden season in EYHL2.

“It was good. We have struggled in matches coming out hard from the start and this was probably our best start,” she said.

“Over the course of the season, we have shown a lot of growth and that showed in this match. We have a lot of young players who are getting more and more confident to play at this level and it is really exciting to see them grow.

“I really like it over here. If I was back home in the US, now that I am not in the US team, I wouldn’t be able to play hockey. Coming over to do a masters at NUIG, getting to continue playing hockey is really great. Galway is like a little family and the support system is really great.”

A varied weekend of action sees games in European indoor action, women’s EYHL 1 and 2, the Irish Senior Cup and the Irish Hockey Trophy on what was initially set to be a relatively quiet fixture list.

For Railway’s women, they start bright and early on Friday morning in Alanya, Turkey in the EuroHockey Indoor Club Trophy, facing Buckingham at 8am Irish time.

It has been a tough build-up for the side who recently retained their National Indoor Trophy crown with Emma Buckley and Holly Jenkinson unavailable through injury while, of their successful side from Gormanston, Kate McKenna and Hannah de Burgh Whyte also unable to travel.

As such, they look to the experience of Orla Fox and Orla Patton along with the trickery of Kate and Lily Lloyd; they can play with some freedom knowing there is no relegation this year with two sides withdrawing from the competition.

They also face Slavia Prague on Friday in their second game before meeting Austria’s SV Arminen and Turkish home club Gaziantep on Saturday. The tournament concludes with a final group game on Sunday against Scotland’s Clydesdale.

Elsewhere, on Thursday evening, Loreto won their first match of the new year with a healthy 4-1 win in the teeming rain at Belfield against UCD. The Beaufort side dominated the first half and went into a 3-0 lead with Hannah Matthews getting the ball rolling from a penalty stroke with Yasmin Pratt and Mia Jennings also weighing in.

Siofra O’Brien got their fourth despite UCD having the best of Q3, getting one back via Hannah McLoughlin’s deflected penalty corner. But they could make no further inroads and they drop out of the EY Champions Trophy playoff places with Loreto taking their place inside the top six.

On Saturday, Old Alex will face Pegasus in another rearranged fixture in the last outstanding match of the first 12 rounds of the season. Both need a win to close the gap on the automatic Champions Trophy semi-final spots.

For Pegs, three points would lift them into second place while Alex need a result to keep in touch with the three sides above them.

In EYHL2, Corinthian and Galway will play their refixed at Whitechurch Park with the former hoping to move level with Ards at the head of their group at the halfway stage while the Connacht side aiming for a first win.

The final four for the women’s Irish Senior Cup will be finalised with Banbridge and Catholic Institute both seeking their first journey that far in the competition.

Insta are the obvious favourites having made their way up to second in the EYHL while Bann sit sixth in the Ulster Premier League.

On the men’s side of the competition, there is a potential classic in store at Grange Road where Three Rock Rovers meet Lisnagarvey in the Irish Senior Cup quarter-final.

Rovers are top of the men’s EYHL with Garvey in second but the latter did win their meeting earlier this season, 3-2 at Comber Road. It is the first of two meetings between the teams in Dublin within seven days of each other as they play a crucial league encounter next week too.

The Irish Hockey Trophy semi-finals for men are an all-Ulster affair with North Down facing South Antrim and Queen’s up against Portadown.

On the basis of reaching the top half of the split Ulster Premier Division, South Antrim and Queen’s would be pegged as favourites in these ties.

In the women’s Irish Hockey Trophy, Leinster Division 1 side Avoca face Challenge A side YMCA in a semi-final derby with the other final four tie postponed between Raphoe and Ashton due to the various weather warnings in place in Donegal and Cork.

Thursday 17th February
Women
EY Hockey League: UCD 1 (H McLoughlin) Loreto 4 (H Matthews, Y Pratt, M Jennings, S O’Brien)

Friday 18th February 2022
Women
EuroHockey Indoor Club Trophy (Alanya, Turkey – times Irish): Railway Union v Buckingham, 8am; Railway Union v Slavia Prague, 2.15pm

Saturday 19th February 2022
Men
Irish Senior Cup, quarter-final: Three Rock Rovers v Lisnagarvey, Grange Road, 3pm
Irish Hockey Trophy, semi-finals: North Down v South Antrim, Comber LC, 2.40pm; Queens University v Portadown, The Dub, 2.30pm

Women
EuroHockey Indoor Club Trophy (Alanya, Turkey – times Irish): Railway Union v SV Arminen, 10.30am; Railway Union v Gaziantep, 3.30pm
EYHL Division 1: Old Alex v Pegasus, Milltown, 1.30pm
EYHL Division 2, Pool 2: Corinthian v Galway, Whitechurch Park, 1.15pm
Irish Senior Cup, quarter-final: Banbridge v Catholic Institute, Havelock Park, 2.45pm
Irish Hockey Trophy, semi-finals: Avoca v YMCA, Newpark, 2.30pm; Raphoe v Ashton, Royal and Prior, 1pm

Sunday 20th February 2022
Women
EuroHockey Indoor Club Trophy (Alanya, Turkey – time Irish):
Railway Union v Clydesdale, 7am

Men’s EY Hockey League – day 12 round-up

Corinthian 2 (D Howard, A Sutton) Lisnagarvey 2 (O Kidd, M McNellis)

A rare Andrew Sutton goal saw Corinthian produce an incredible late fightback to nick a point against Lisnagarvey, knocking them off top spot of the men’s EY Hockey League.

The first half ended scoreless but things appeared to be going smoothly for Garvey when Ollie Kidd and Mark McNellis put them two clear in the fourth quarter.

But Davy Howard and the experienced Sutton’s goal in the last 30 seconds earned the reds a gleefully celebrated point which lifts them from eighth place to sixth in the rankings.

Glenanne 3 (S O’Connor, J Rogan, R Couse) Pembroke 5 (A Sothern 4, J Dale)

Alan Sothern showed how invaluable he is for Pembroke as he scored four goals as he returned to full flow after injury to give his side a vital victory over Glenanne, denting the hosts’ title chances in the process.

It was a measure of efficiency as Glenanne had a larger amount of possession and chances but Pembroke picked off corners and strokes from their fewer attacks to make the difference.

The Glens peppered Ilko Dartsch’s goal in the first few minutes with a couple of corners and a Richie Shaw volley flashing across goal. Sam O’Connor put them in front in the 24th minute but Sothern equalised within two minutes to have it level at the big break.

The second half started with the Glens on the attack for the most part but Pembroke’s first attack of the half led to a stroke which Sothern did not catch too cleanly but got enough on it to make it through David Lawless.

Jason Rogan equalised when he flicked in when the ball fell to him after a left-wing attack and Richard Couse applied a very smart take through his legs and finish for 3-2 from Shane O’Donoghue’s pin-point pass.

But Pembroke finished strong with Sothern scoring a second stroke for 3-3 after a corner shot hit a body on the line with 13 minutes to go. Julian Dale added a direct drag-flick to retake the lead soon after and Sothern completed the victory with his fourth of the day. They finished up round 12 one point away from safety while Glenanne are in third, three points off first.

Annadale 1 (J Clark) Three Rock Rovers 3 (B Johnson 2, R Canning)

Three Rock Rovers returned to the top of the men’s EY Hockey League as their set-piece functioned well to record a 3-1 win over Annadale at Lagan College.

Annandale got off to a flying start with Owen McElhinney’s left-wing cross on his reverse turned in by James Clark. Rovers, though, were level in the sixth minute when Ben Johnson nailed a drag-flick.

Rovers were initially awarded a stroke in Q2 when Johnson got in behind the last defender and went tumbling under a challenge from goalkeeper Sam Hamill but an umpire’s consultation overturned the decision.

Lisnagarvey’s Daniel Nelson shoots under pressure from Craig MacKay. Picture: Adrian Boehm

Conor Quinn made a big save from David Tremlett’s deflection before Rovers made it 2-1 with the last play of the half as Johnson’s shot was blocked by a body on the line and Ross Canning stepped up to convert from the penalty spot.

The Dubliners moved into a 3-1 lead from their third penalty corner of the second half with Johnson again the man on target, going down the glove side into the bottom corner.

After that, Rovers held on reasonably comfortably with Quinn not called into action in the closing 20 minutes while Hamill made some robust stops in the Dale goal.

UCD 1 (H Lynch) Monkstown 4 (D Carson, T Kohlmann, M Gibbons, G Sarratt)

Monkstown recorded a 4-1 win for the second week running as they proved too strong for UCD at Belfield. The students started well with Ewan Ramsay drawing a couple of good saves from Dave Fitzgerald but Monkstown were on their way in the second quarter.

David Nolan danced one way then the other from a free, getting to the baseline and crossing to Davy Carson to finish off. It was 2-0 by half-time via a sweet team move through the middle which Theo Kohlmann finished off.

Mark Gibbons was credited with the third goal with a deflection from a right-wing cross though the students argued it took a foot rather than a stick. Matthew O’Brien Holohan made a number of top class saves but the fourth goal fell to Guy Sarratt with a piece of individual brilliance, beating a couple of players on the baseline and then reversing into the net.

Harry Lynch pulled one back from a corner in the dying minutes for UCD.

YMCA 2 (G Glutz 2) Banbridge 3 (D Finlay, J McKee, E Magee)

Banbridge, meanwhile, won a rollercoaster against YMCA 3-2 to continue their push for a good playoff draw.

Grant Glutz had the Y 1-0 up from a penalty stroke but David Finlay had Bann level before half-time and a world class effort from Johnny McKee gave the Co Down side the lead for the first time. Eugene Magee’s corner goal put the visitors 3-1 up; Glutz’s second of the day closed out the game but proved immaterial.

Bann remain level with Monkstown in fourth place but have reeled in the gap to the top three.

Women’s EYHL – day 12 round-up

Cork Harlequins 0 Belfast Harlequins 1 (E Uprichard)

Emma Uprichard’s 19th minute goal gave Belfast Harlequins a huge three points over their Cork namesakes, pushing them five points clear of the relegation zone. For the Farmers’ Cross side, it leaves them with eight points to make up in the closing six matches.

The Cork side had the pick of the first quarter chances with Beth Anne O’Farrell going close but the Belfast side came into their own and began to threaten before Uprichard got the only goal.

She came in from the right, beating a couple of defenders before sliding a reverse sweep past the Cork Harlequins keeper. It remained that way through to the break despite Michelle Barry winning a corner but produced no reward.

The third quarter was end to end with the hosts having some big chances they should have put away while the Belfast side were fast on the break but held at bay by a strong defensive showing. The fourth quarter followed a similar pattern with both teams creating chances but not capitalising as the visitors held on for a significant victory.

Pembroke 2 (E Curran, S Campbell) UCD 2 (K Egan, E Paul)

Pembroke’s seven-game winning streak was brought to an end as UCD stormed back to grab a share of the points at Serpentine Avenue, coming back from 2-0 down.

In a first half of few chances, Pembroke opened the scoring from a lovely flowing move, started and finished by Ellen Curran. The midfielder laid off to Sinead Loughran who fed it on to Aisling Naughton on the right baseline. Her ball to the baseline ended up blocked at the near post by goalkeeper Laura Gunning but Curran had followed up the attack to pop in off the pads.

For UCD, their best chance came off the back of Michelle Carey’s driving run with the ball hitting the outside of the goal. Pembroke, though, doubled their lead when a corner was slipped to Sally Campbell who pushed in from the left of the D.

The students were back in the game in the 47th minute when Aine Naughton raced into space down the right right wing and squared for Katherine Egan who controlled well and slotted by Ruth Cowman in the Pembroke goal.

Early in Q4, Hannah McLoughlin hit the post after a surge from the top of the circle as UCD put on the pressure while a corner chance was well blocked by Cowman, scrambling to her right from a deflected shot.

And the equaliser arrived with five minutes to go with Emma Paul slamming in a sweep-shot from a corner into the bottom right corner. Pembroke did land a corner in the closing seconds but it was skewed wide and the laurels shared.

Muckross 0 Catholic Institute 4 (R Upton 2, N Carroll, H Kelly)

Catholic Institute continued their excellent start to 2022 with a third successive victory since the turn of the year, keeping them in second place. 

Hannah Kelly lines up a shot. Picture: Adrian Boehm

The first quarter was scoreless with Insta testing the Muckross defensive mettle before taking the lead in the second quarter through Naomi Carroll, a cracking reverse-stick shot from the Olympian.

That was how it remained through to half-time but the Limerick side cut loose in the second half with Hannah Kelly grabbing a second goal. And Róisín Upton added two identical penalty corner drag-flicks in the closing period to expand the lead to 4-0.

Pegasus 2 (K McKee, T Doherty) Railway Union 1 (N Shaw)

Pegasus fought back from a half-time deficit to land an important win of their title chances as Katie McKee and Taite Doherty turned the tide against Railway Union at Malone Road.

Niamh Shaw got the only goal of the first half with a cracking hit from a double-switch move from a penalty corner to give Railway the half-time advantage.

Pegasus, though, were level two minutes into the second half when Katie McKee twisted and turned to get the space to shoot on her backhand where she powered home.

And the Ulster side had the winner when Ruth Maguire picked out a brilliant pass to Taite Doherty and she struck a crisp effort for 2-1.

Loreto 1 (H Matthews) Old Alex 3 (N Evans 2, M Power)

Nikki Evans’ classy double earned Old Alex a key win over fellow playoff chasers Loreto to put them in fourth spot in the women’s EY Hockey League.

Nikki Evans’ sparkling top-corner effort lit up the first half as she picked up Millie O’Donnell’s ball into the D, steadying before unleashing a sublime shot on her backhand.

Prior to that, Loreto had seen a corner shot confidently booted away by Holly Micklem while Emma Russell went inches wide from an Evans pull-back. Liz Murphy, meanwhile, was alert to clean up a one-on-one chance.

Loreto had most of the play after the goal with a number of half-chances slipping by with Cailtin Sherin stepping forward and going close.

Alex had the best of the third quarter and they were rewarded when Lena Tice lifted an overhead into the D to Mikayla Power who controlled and slipped in her shot for 2-0.

The Beaufort side got one back from the third of a series of three corners when Hannah Matthews’ hit took a heavy deflection off the number one runner. 

But Evans quickly restored the Alex lead when she reacted brilliantly to a rebound from Tice’s corner shot, batting home on the dive.

Micklem did brilliantly to keep out an Aoife Taaffe first-time shot in Q4 and Matthews went close with another corner effort in a late series of attacks from Loreto but Alex held on for their first win in the EYHL since early November.

 

EYHL Division 2 round-up
Ards, Corinthian, Monkstown and Queen’s moved into the prime positions in EYHL2 with high-scoring wins in their Saturday match-ups.
Ards head up Pool 1 thanks to a 6-1 win over Galway. It was tight in the first half with the oranges missing a number of chances but they still managed a 1-0 lead at half-time thanks to a near post shot from Ali Carson.
An impressive second half saw Amy Benson and Zara Malseed on the scoreboard twice for Ards before youngster Katie Kimber scored Ards’ final goal from a well rehersed penalty corner routine in the 6-1 win.
Alyssa Manley smartly converted a penalty corner with a well placed strike for Galway to score their first goal in their EYHL2 campaign.
Corinthian withstood a Trinity comeback to win 4-2 in the other game and move into second spot in the group. Two goals from Lauren McGrane and one from Christina Seggie had the reds 3-0 up before Faye Neill and Kate Sullivan made things interesting. Seggie’s second, though, killed off the tie.
In Pool 2, Monkstown moved closer to a confirmed playoff spot with a 5-0 win over Lurgan with Susie Kelly, Claire O’Reilly, Chloe Watkins, Natasha Twomey and Rebecca Carthy all scoring.
It puts them 10 points clear of Queen’s who were 4-1 winners at home against Cork C of I.
EYHL Division 2

Pool 1: Ards 6 (Z Malseed 2, A Benson 2, A Carson, K Kimber) Galway 1 (A Manley); Trinity 2 (F Neill, K Sullivan) Corinthian 4 (L McGrane 2, C Seggie)

Pool 2: Lurgan 0 Monkstown 5 (S Kelly, C O’Reilly, C Watkins, N Twomey, R Carthy); Queens University 4 (J McMaster 3, E Getty) Cork C of I 1 (C O’Sullivan)