UCD and Loreto miss chance to take the lead in EY Hockey League
UCD – 2 Loreto – 2
It was a two top clash in the EY Hockey League between UCD and visitors Loreto at Belfield this afternoon; an enthralling fixture played in miserable conditions that could go a long way to deciding who lifts the trophy at the end of the season. At the beginning of the day, UCD and Loreto, along with Catholic Institute, sat at the top of the table on 28 points.
UCD began the brighter of the two teams, finding space to attack through Eva Lavelle in midfield who broke through the Loreto press a number of times. The Carey sisters, Michelle and Niamh, looked dangerous on the break and Katherine Egan looked sprightly as well. But it was Loreto who broke the deadlock through a well taken penalty corner strike from Caitlin Sherin. Her slightly lifted effort was further lifted by the UCD first runner, who deflected it up and over her own goalkeeper.
The second quarter saw UCD draw level when Egan got on the end of an excellent through ball from Lavelle. Loreto thought they had averted the danger when goalkeeper Alannah Carragher saved Egan’s reverse stick effort, but the ball fell to Leah O’Shea who made no mistake to make the game even again.
At the beginning of the second half, we saw both midfields looking to make an impact on the game, Sarah Torrans and Christina Hamill from Loreto and Hannah McLoughlin from Loreto particularly effective at pushing their teams forward. There were penalty corners for both teams, with neither able to make their set pieces count.
It was in an exciting final quarter that the game opened up. Again, Loreto’s goalkeeper Carragher saved well only to find she had directed the ball to a UCD stick. This time it was Egan who found herself with the ball on her stick, the UCD forward taking a touch before a quickly taken reverse shot put her team in front.
However, Loreto were not kept quiet for long. After winning another penalty corner, the visitors turned to Sherin who was on the mark again from the top of the circle – the sheer power of the shot helping the ball into the right corner of the goal and Loreto were level again.
It was a niggly fixture, with both teams shipping green cards on regular occasions, but it was UCD who found themselves down to 10 players for the final four minutes when they had a player given a yellow card in the dying minutes. Loreto piled on the pressure but the home team held strong to claim an all-important point, and prevent Loreto from taking all three as it finished UCD two, Loreto two.
Catholic Institute could not make the most of the draw between their close rivals, Ards frustrating them by keeping them to a draw with the score finishing at two goals apiece. Indeed, it seemed to be the score line of the day as the tie between Monkstown and Pembroke Wanderers also finished in a draw, both teams scoring two goals.
Railway Union suffered an agonizing loss at the hands of the chasing Old Alex who made up valuable ground on the leaders as they came from two goals to one down to win 3-2. Pegasus against Belfast Harlequins was postponed and will be rescheduled.