Pembroke and Pegasus on the march in women’s EYHL

Women’s EY Hockey Legaue – day three round-up
UCD 1 (M Carey) Pembroke 2 (A Naughton, O Macken)

Pembroke came back from a goal down in the final quarter to beat UCD and continue their excellent start to the season, leaving them in a share for the lead with Pegasus after three rounds.

It was a tie featuring numerous players who had lined out for the opposing side at different times in their recent past with Pembroke fielding five ex-UCD players while Emma Paul and Katie-Jane Marshall faced their youth club.

It was one of those alumni, Emily Beatty, whose steal almost unlocked the door with the first real chance before UCD had their big first half opportunity with Katherine Egan was impeded while shooting. From the following stroke, though, Egan did not catch her shot fully and Emma Buckley was able to save.

And so it remained scoreless into the third quarter after a couple of corners for each side as Ellen Curran controlled Pembroke’s midfield while Niamh Carey was on song for UCD.

The students went in front when Paul’s swept corner shot was deflected in artfully by Michelle Carey but Pembroke were back on terms in the final quarter. Aisling Naughton profited from a mistake in the UCD defence, reacting in a flash to make it 1-1.

Sally Campbell was denied by Ellie McLoughlin soon after and the winner arrived with seven minutes to go. Sinead Loughran won a corner which Orla Macken thumped home for a 2-1 lead and they held on despite plenty of late pressure.

Railway Union 1 (K Lloyd) Pegasus 2 (A Speers, E Quinn)
Emma Quinn’s 67th minute goal saw Pegasus make it two wins in four days and keep them in a share of the lead with seven points out of nine to date.

The Ulster side started the match at a high tempo in the first quarter and won a number of penalty corners that looked promising, one in particular denied well by Holly Jenkinson.

They went in front when a lifted reception in the circle from Alex Speers – against her old club – led to a goalmouth scramble, Speers eventually batting into the goal

Railway lifted their energy and tempo in the second quarter and a well-worked run and persistence from Niamh Shaw led to a ball across the goal with a textbook finish from Kate Lloyd on the backpost to make it 1-1.

The hosts looked the more threatening for much of the second half. With forward pressure, Railway turned over several Pegasus outlets leading to a number of corner opportunities and circle entries but to no ultimate avail.

Pegasus held their defence, absorbing Railway’s pressure for much of the second half and they eventually got the sucker punch when they took a quick free which led to a counter-attack and a corner. Shirley McCay pushed it at goal which offered up the chance for Quinn to get the decisive touch.

Old Alex 1 (M Power) Loreto 4 (R Fitzpatrick, S Torrans, S O’Brien, G Donald)
Loreto picked up their first win of the season with an outstanding performance as their young guns took inspiration from the return of Hannah Matthews. The Olympian was back in the side after an almost three-week Covid-enforced break but she played a strong role in midfield and they looked good value for the points.

The Beaufort side’s press worked well in the first half and it was from a loose ball around the back from Alex – for whom Lena Tice sat out due to a tight hamstring – with Rebecca Fitzpatrick nipping in to slide home on her backhand. It was her first EYHL goal having made her debut on Wednesday.

Their general play might well have deserved a second goal before half-time but Holly Micklem was outstanding between the posts. They had to wait until the second period for it to arrive, a true piece of beauty when it landed, Sarah Torrans’ driving run ending with a thumping strike from the head of the D.

Mikayla Power scored a wonder goal for Old Alex. Picture: Adrian Boehm

Alex responded well, moving the ball better and working more openings. They got one back with another pearl of a goal, 16-year-old Mikayla Power’s run ending with a delicious backhand flick over Lizzie Murphy.

That made it game on going into the final quarter but Loreto finished strong the direct running Siofra O’Brien smashing home from mid-circle after a beautiful Aoife Murray through ball for 3-1. Grace Donald then dove onto a corner move for a fourth to round out a good result.

Belfast Harlequins 3 (L Geddes, S Hunter, N Lyttle) Cork Harlequins 0
Belfast Harlequins got the better of their Cork namesakes at a sunny Deramore Park, a 3-0 win giving the hosts their first points of the season.

It was a well-deserved victory for the more experienced home team – albeit still without their internationals – while the Munster side paraded a youthful outfit and travelled north with only one substitute.

Nevertheless, Cork made life tough enough for their opponents in the latter stages of the first half after they got the long journey out of their system.

They conceded the opening goal in the first quarter when Lucy Geddes netted at the far post after good work by Jane Kilpatrick down the right.

After that setback, Cork came in to the game and had a couple of chances of their own, Ruby Walsh clearing the crossbar with a backhand effort and Aine Power being denied by Suzanne Taylor in the home goal.

Belfast went on to dominate proceedings after those scares though and, five minutes into the second half, great work by Jenna Watt set up a simple chance for Sophie Hunter who tapped home at the far post.

In the 50th minute, Natalie Lyttle converted from the penalty spot after Cork keeper Joy O’Kelly was left with little option but to take out the unmarked Hunter in the circle with a goal looking likely.

The hosts continued to dominate and Watt and Kilpatrick – who had another fine match at both ends of the pitch – went close to adding to their team’s tally.

Catholic Institute 2 (L Clery, N Carroll) Muckross 0
Catholic Institute picked up their first win of the season with an impressive 2-0 home success against Muckross, adding to their two earlier draws.

Leah Clery broke the deadlock two minutes before half-time before Naomi Carroll put them two clear four minutes into the second half.