Pegasus have relinquished their position at the top of EY Irish Hockey League table after Loreto ended their hosts’ four-match winning streak with a 2-0 victory at the Dub yesterday.
Penalty corner goals in the first and last quarters from Ireland World Cup silver medallists Hannah Matthews and Ali Meeke gave the Dublin side a well-deserved win as they took over at the summit on goal difference.
Loreto played the more cohesive hockey throughout and displayed a more clinical touch in front of goal in a game in which most of the opportunities came from set-pieces. Matthews broke the deadlock in the ninth minute from her team’s first penalty corner, firing home from close-range after being left unmarked from a switch. After Shirley McCay had seen her corner effort go narrowly wide four minutes later, Pegasus keeper Megan Todd was forced into a trio of saves from Sarah Clarke, Matthews and Meeke.
On the stroke of half-time, Stephanie Thompson’s shot was well saved by Liz Murphy and then the Loreto goalie made a brilliant point-blank stop from Lucy McKee in the 62nd minute after the Pegasus striker had stolen possession from Matthews. That proved to be a turning point as Meeke drove in Loreto’s second goal from a direct shot three minutes later to seal the deal.
Elsewhere, Belfast Harlequins picked up a valuable point in their quest for a top four place as they fought out a 1-1 draw with UCD in Dublin. Irish international Zoe Wilson scored the opener from the penalty spot and then was unlucky to see her shot crash off the woodwork late in the game after Ellen Curran’s equaliser. After that, Quins’ keeper Marianne Fox brought off a magnificent double save in the last play of the game to deny UCD the win.
Ards remain in relegation trouble after falling to a 2-1 defeat against Old Alex at Londonderry Park, leaving them with a solitary point from five matches. The Leinster side led 2-0 after the first quarter following strikes from Aine Connery and Hannah McDermott before Caroline Adams pulled one back with her side’s first goal of the season.
In the second-tier all-Ireland competition, Queen’s were made to work hard for their third successive win as they defeated Trinity 3-2 yesterday at the Dub. They trailed to a first-half penalty stroke converted by Sally Campbell but then his a purple patch as they moved 3-1 up after goals from Emily McStea, Beth Ravey and Tori Hastings. But the Dublin students pulled a goal back through a brilliantly-struck Erica Markey penalty corner nine minutes from the end.
The Trinity coach protested that a penalty stroke should have been awarded after the Queen’s keeper took out a striker so maybe justice was done. Trinity piled on the pressure, forcing three more set-pieces but were unable to find an equaliser and Queen’s held on for a hard-fought victory.
“They threw everything at us and we maybe got out of jail but I thought we played well in patches,” said relieved Queen’s coach Simon Bell.
At domestic level Ulster Premier champions Lurgan made it four wins from four to move to within three points of women’s Ulster Premier League leaders Lisnagarvey after a 5-0 win over Ballymena on Saturday. The champions also have the benefit of two games in hand over the Hillsborough side, who had a day off. Emma Lindsay hit two of the goals with the others coming from Sarah McClure, Olivia Gibson and Charlene Stewart.
Ballymoney are a point ahead of Lurgan but have played two games more as they chalked up a 2-0 away win over struggling Randalstown with goals from Katharine Minihan and Lucy Millar. In the late slot at the Glade, Mossley secured their first win of the campaign with a 2-1 victory over Rainey. Karen Dixon gave the hosts the lead but Betty Scott levelled matters before the break and then Kathryn Lorimer grabbed the winner with 12 minutes left.
In the only other top-flight game, Ulster Elks continued their revival with a 2-1 win over Banbridge, with goals from Judithe Allen and Bronwyn Kretzmann and Paula Haugh replying.
In Senior One, there were wins for CI, Omagh, Club KV, Priorians and Raphoe with Omagh’s Emma Shortt and Raphoe’s Wendy Patterson both scoring hat-tricks in victories over North Down and Coleraine respectively.
On the men’s front, A closely fought battle in the rain against Cork in Munster saw Cookstown win a point from a 1-1 draw to put them into seventh position in the EY Hockey League. But it might have been even sweeter for the Tyrone men.
“It feels funny, similar to last week when we played Annadale, we felt like we could’ve got more out of the game,” said Mark Crooks. “We are probably a bit disappointed that we didn’t get three points.
“But we fought and we fought, and we got stuck in and we came away with a point which I suppose we still have to be happy with. It’s been years since we got anything down there. They are a good team and we have to be happy that we picked up at least one point. We just have to keep the momentum going. We’ve got a match (against Queen’s University) midweek and then Pembroke (on Saturday) before a bit of a break from the EYHL so it is important that we carry the momentum that we’ve had into the Kirk Cup games.”
“It is important that we really do stamp our authority on those matches and play the right way so come next week, when we play Pembroke, we are still at the level required to win.”
The Reds took advantage of a card to Cork’s Jonny Bruton, Greg Allen tucking the ball over the line after some great play on the baseline by his teammates. Cork came back at Cookstown and Josh McCabe made a brilliant double stop at the end of the first quarter to deny an equaliser. The lead only lasted a few more minutes, however. Thomas Chalumeau played in former Ireland international John Jermyn who picked out Bruton who netted for 1-1. While Cookstown looked to counter, Cork controlled possession and conjured a few good opportunities without troubling the scoreboard.
Banbridge are three points ahead at the top after nearest rivals Glenanne were held to a 3-3 draw by basement side Dublin YMCA. In IHL 2, Kilkeel were the only Ulster winners, Luke Russell’s brace helping them to a 5-1 win over UCC in Cork. But Bangor crashed 7-2 at home to Railway Union while Instonians lost 5-2 to Corinthian in Dublin.
In the Ulster Premier, Irish international Neal Glassey, back home from Germany during the indoor break there, hit two for Mossley in an impressive 6-3 win at Raphoe. Newry and North Down shared the spoils in a 2-2 draw while Civil Service beat Harlequins 2-1 at Deramore, with goals from Stephen Armstrong and Andy Hagan with James Neill replying.
EYHL: Cork C of I 1 (J Bruton) Cookstown 1 (G Allen); Dublin YMCA 3 (J Tobin 2, B Campbell) Glenanne 3 (S O’Connor, G Shaw, B Venter)
EYHL2 Pool A: Bangor 2 (J Easlie, R Cunningham) Railway Union 7 (R Forrest, A McGregor, D McArthur, S McKeever, F Keaveney, O McArthur, J McKeever); Bandon 1 (F O’Leary) UCD 2 (D Nolan, A Tutty)
EYHL2 Pool B: UCC 1 (J Costello) Kilkeel 5 (L Russell 2, M Stevenson, J Aiken, A Graham); Corinthian 5 (I Stewart 2, D Howard, G Dagg, J Perdue) Instonians 2 (G Leckey);
Ulster Premier League: Belfast Harlequins 1 (J Neill) Civil Service 2 (S Armstrong, A Hagan); Newry Olympic 2 (C McKnight 2) North Down 2 (J Moore, P Templeton);
EYHL: Ards 1 ( C Adams) Old Alex 2 (H McDermott, A Connery); Pegasus 0 Loreto 2 (H Matthews, A Meeke); Railway Union 1 Cork Harlequins 3; Pembroke 2 Muckross 1; UCD 1 (E Curran) Belfast Harlequins 1( Z Wilson).
EYHL2: Dungannon 1 (K Elliott) Monkstown 5; Queen’s 3 (E McStea, B Ravey, T Hastings) Trinity 2(S Campbell, E Markey) ; UCC 4 Greenfields 1.
Ulster Premier League: Banbridge 1 (P Haugh) Ulster Elks 2 (J Allen, B Kretzmann); Lurgan 5 (O Gibson, E Lindsay 2, S McClure, C Stewart); Mossley 2 (K Dixon, K Lorimer) Rainey 1(B Scott); Randalstown 0 Ballymoney 2 (K Minihan, L Millar)
Senior One: Armagh 1 (E Mackey) CI 2 (L Mercer, S Houston); Club KV 4 (J Orr 2, L Kelly, L McClay) Portadown 0; Omagh 4 (E Shortt 3, L Long) North Down 2 (L Brown 2); Raphoe 6 (W Patterson 3, L Smyth, V Wray, S Barnett) Coleraine 2 (H Tweedie, C McNickle); Priorians 2 (S Cole, E Allen) Castle (K Luney).