** 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.
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.
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.