First women’s EYHL wins of season for UCD, Railway and Pembroke

Women’s EY Hockey League – day two round-up
Old Alex 0 Catholic Institute 0

Old Alex and Catholic Institute shared the spoils as defences were on top in Milltown as goalkeepers Holly Micklem and Pam Smithwick put in fine performances. The former was the first to get down low to deny a first minute chance from the visitors from Limerick.

Alex, though, had the better of the first half with Lena Tice on her return controlling things from the back and Niamh Sweeney, Jessica McGirr and Gisela Estrenjer getting the better of midfield.

Both sides won a trio of penalty corners in the first quarter but to no avail and strong running lines was to be a major feature of this contest. Insta ended up with nine penalty corners across the match but the usually ferocious flicking of Róisín Upton was snuffed out at each turn.

From play, meanwhile, Naomi Carroll had the pick of their chances when a long second quarter overhead made it through to her in behind the last defender but Micklem was off her line like a light to keep out the chance.

For Alex, their attacks were more sporadic in the second half but they did find joy through Aine Connery and they almost nicked the victory in the closing couple of minutes. Mikayla Power drew an excellent stop from Smithwick and the rebound was scrambled clear to leave it scoreless.

Alex welcomed Lena Tice back into the line-up for the first time this season while Institute had welcomed Rebecca Barry for the first time since 2012 after spells in the US and at Cork Harlequins.

Muckross 0 UCD 4 (H McLoughlin 3, S Cole)
Hannah McLoughlin’s hat trick of backhand goals saw UCD pick up their first win of the season, lifting them to four points out of six to date. In the early phases, it was a corner battle with Ellie McLoughlin and Aoife Glennon trading saves until Sophia Cole broke the deadlock in the 20th minute with a low flick down the left channel.

Hannah McLoughlin then turned up the tempo when she stormed forward from midfield, dribbled left and then whipped home her first of the day just before half-time.

It became part of a recurring theme and she had a second when she pinched possession on the 23-metre line, forged a way forward and picked her spot on the backboard.

Her third – and UCD’s fourth – was the pick of the bunch, an excellent team move from the back finding the Olympian high up the pitch. She still had plenty to do but weaved her way through a number of tackles and pinged a shot in off the inside of the post.

Cork Harlequins 0 Railway Union 6 (S Hawkshaw, F Maughan, K Dillon, K Lloyd, L Lloyd, E Smyth)
Railway Union opened their EYHL campaign with a well earned win against a developing Harlequins side. The Railway side included Olympian Sarah Hawkshaw as captain, while Harlequins welcomed back Irish underage international Lauren Cripps.

An even first quarter saw both teams play enterprising hockey in an unusually warm Farmers Cross. Railway’s breakthrough came early in the second quarter when Florence Maughan came off the bench to finish sharply from close range. Harlequins keeper Lorna Bateman kept Railway at bay until half-time with an outstanding performance.

Railway’s strength and experience showed as a tiring Harlequins conceded four goals in a five minute spell in the third quarter to decisively decide the tie, including a wonderful individual effort from captain Hawkshaw. Emma Smyth’s goal in the 65th minute rounded off a convincing performance against the hardworking Harlequins side.

Pembroke 3 (S Loughran, L McGuire, T Wensley) Loreto 0
Pembroke produced an outstanding second half performance to beat Loreto 3-0 to build on their opening day away draw with Pegasus. The first half was a very even affair with Pembroke picking up a couple of incomplete chances toward the end of the first quarter while Loreto were unable to make the most from their corner openings.

The second half, though, saw things open up with Pembroke seizing the initiative in Q3. Sinead Loughran grabbed the first from a penalty corner scramble and it was a 2-0 scoreline inspired by Leah McGuire. She won possession to spark a rapid counter-attack which ended in a penalty corner which the former UCD and Armagh player stepped up to crack home.

Loreto attempted a kickstart their comeback in the final quarter, applying a lot of pressure, but Sarah Torrans missed out on a great chance.

And the result was sealed when an excellent passing moved was worked into the D to Tory Wensley to find the net with seven minutes to go.

Pembroke’s Tori Wensley gets away from Caitlin Sherin. Picture: Adrian Boehm