Match report Belfast Harlequins V UCD and all weekend games.
BELFAST HARLEQUINS 1 UCD 5 DERAMORE PARK
UCD lost Michelle Carey for the rest of the season when she sustained a medium term injury at Women’s National team training camp on Monday on a day that saw Loreto’s Yasmin Pratt suffered a similar length injury. Both will be side-lined for at least six weeks. With regards to this game it left UCD minus one of their most potent forwards at a time when they need two victories and results elsewhere to go their way to secure the 2022-23 EYHL League title. For Belfast Harlequins already relegated, there was nothing to play for except pride. Belfast Harlequins had a couple of chances in the first quarter that they failed to convert as did their visitors but it remained scoreless at the break. The breakthrough finally came in the 39th minute when UCD took the lead through Eva Lavelle capitalising on a penalty corner. Six minutes later Leah O’Shea converted a second penalty corner to increase the lead for the students. Aine Naughton who was later voted Player of the Match , opened her account on 53 minutes to leave UCD leading 3-0 at the end of the third quarter.
On the hour mark UCD increased their lead from a field goal scored by Sophia Cole to make it 4-0 and Aine Naughton got her second goal of the game and UCD’s fifth on 66 minutes to leave UCD 5-0 in front. That situation only remained in place for sixty seconds as Belfast Harlequins finally got on the scoresheet on 67 minutes when Susie McCollum scored from open play to leave the final score Belfast Harlequins 1 UCD 5. UCD go into the final week’s action in second place in the table.
BELFAST HARLEQUINS:- Suzanne Parkes, Olivia Beattie, Imogen Graham, Linzi Hamilton, Suzanne Hunter (c), Katherine Welshman, Ji-Won Hong, Claire Bannerman , Claire Whiteside, Helen Kerr, Ellie Burgess, Sasha Logan, Anna Hedley, Jodie Kee, Katie Larmour, Kathryn Smiley
UCD:- Norah McGinty; Hannah McLoughlin (c), Sarah McAuley, Aine Naughton, Leah O’Shea, Niamh Carey, Ali Griffin, Lucy Crowe, Grace Keane, Katie-Jane Marshall , Charlotte Cope, Eva Lavelle, Sophia Cole, Caoimhe Byrne
EYHL WOMEN’S DIVISION
Thursday night saw two games at the top end of the table which could go a long way to deciding the destination of the EYHL Women’s Division Championship for 2022-23.
Loreto hosted Old Alexandra in a rearranged game trailing League leaders UCD only on goal difference.
Goals from Sara Torrans , Aoife Taaffe and Rachel Kelly saw the Beaufort based side record an emphatic 3-0 over fourth placed Alex to go top of the table by two points.
UCD travelled to Pembroke Wanderers and were trailing 2-0 at the end of the first quarter thanks to goals by Sinead Loughran and Orla Macken. and it remained 2-0 until the break.
Two goals by Hannah McLoughlin the first from a penalty stroke and the second a great finish from a penalty corner in the third quarter secured a valuable point for the students who drop to second place in the table. Despite losing a two goal lead this point saw Pembroke Wanderers leapfrog Pegasus, on goal difference , into fifth place ahead of their weekend game.
Rachel Kelly scored her second and third goal in two games to put Loreto 2-0 ahead in the first quarter against a Railway Union side that dominated possession and had the hosts on the back foot for most of the game. Loreto defended strongly and Grace Donald was particularly prominent in repelling the visitors attacks. Railway Union continued to dominate possession and eventually got on the scoresheet on 29 minute through Ireland captain Katie Mullan. They were unable to bridge the gap and ended up on the wrong side of a 2-1 score line.
Defending champions Pembroke Wanderers hosted Old Alexandra at Serpentine Avenue and suffered a reverse at the hands of the visitors. Alex taking all three points in a 2-1 win.
It wasn’t all bad news for Wanderers however as Pegasus with whom they were jostling for fifth place were beaten 4-1 by Catholic Institute .
In the relegation six pointer , Monkstown got their busy weekend off to the perfect start with a 2-1 away win over Ards to put a three point gap between the teams with only one game to be played by each side. Loreto go into the final round of games 2 points clear of UCD and with a 1 goal advantage in terms of goal difference.
EYHL MEN’S DIVISION
Banbridge had taken on Instonians on their patch in rearranged match on Tuesday and won 6-3 to increase their lead at the top of the League table.
This victory left Banbridge heading into this weekend’s game with Monkstown needing only one more victory from their remaining games to become this season’s EYHL Men’s Division Champions. However it wasn’t to be for Bann this week as Monkstown fought to a 4-4 draw leaving the northerners still shy of points to get over the line and win this League title.
Pembroke Wanderers men’s side were beaten 2-1 at home by YMCA and Lisnagarvey were the winners of a seven goal thriller away to Annadale on a 4-3 margin.
Three Rock Rovers had a comfortable 2-0 win over bottom side Cookstown and Instonians were on the wrong side of a 7-1 score line when they hosted Glenanne. The Dubliners having the ideal preparation for their semi final on Sunday.
EYHL MEN’S DIVISION 2 POOL A
Corinthians already had this Pool title secured going into the final game securing a bye into the Promotion semi-finals. Railway Union in turn had made the quarter final berth secure as had Cork Church of Ireland so there was an element of dead rubbers in their final Pool A games against Railway Union and Cork Harlequins respectively . For Harlequins it was a busy weekend as they had to play their previously postponed fixture away to Queen’s University on the Sunday but it was nothing more than a fulfillment of an outstanding fixture with nothing at stake but pride.
Corinthians won 7-2 against Railway Union while Cork Harlequins and Church Of Ireland played out a 2-2 draw
EYHL MEN’S DIVISION 2 POOL B
UCD had long since won this Pool going into their final joust with South Antrim and secured their bye into the semi final weekend . Bandon and Avoca had also secured their quarter final berths indeed Avoca had completed their allotted fixtures before this weekend. Bandon hosted Kilkeel and it ended in a 5-1 win for the hosts. South Antrim had to host Pool leaders UCD with nothing at stake. UCD won comfortably by 3-0.
Avoca will play Railway Union in the EY2 play off quarter-finals with Cork Church of Ireland taking on Bandon in the second quarter-final. Corinthians and UCD by virtue of their Pool wins await the winners of those ties in the semi-finals
EYHL WOMEN’S DIVISION 2 POOL A
UCC made sure of third place by beating Muckross 4-2 in their clash at the Mardyke.
Ulster Elks and Avoca having already secured first and second spot respectively played out their final pool game at Newpark with the visitors Ulster Elks emerging victorious by 2-1.
EYHL WOMEN’S DIVISION 2 POOL B
Corinthians completed their Pool B group games with a 5-0 win away to Galway.
Queen’s University beat Cork Harlequins by 3-2 but both sides had secured their places in the EY2 Quarterfinal play offs already.
UCC will play Queen’s University from Pool B in their quarter final
Avoca will take on Cork Harlequins in the other quarter final.
Corinthians and Ulster Elks both get byes to the EY 2 semi-finals where they will await the winners of the quarter-finals.