Catholic Institute close the gap to Pembroke to two points

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.