Pembroke are the standalone leaders of the women’s EY Hockey League following a comprehensive 4-1 win over Catholic Institute put them two points clear.
It was built on a dominant first three quarters and while Insta racked up a string of set pieces in the last 20 minutes, Pembroke had the cutting edge.
Tori Wensley jabbed home the first goal from Emily Beatty’s crash ball; Orla Macken smacked in a corner shot for 2-0 and Claire Foley made it three by half-time. Róisín Upton got one back from the penalty spot but Foley’s second late in the game confirmed the result.
With the bottom two sides in their next two games, Pembroke look well placed to lead the pack going into the new year.
Just down the road in Milltown, Old Alex dropped off top following a 1-1 draw against UCD. Abbie Russell had Alex in good shape but Niamh Carey swooped to level matters.
They now sit in a share of second alongside Pegasus as they proved too strong for Cork Harlequins with a 6-0 result with six different scorers on the board.
In the chasing pack, Railway Union jumped up a couple of spots into a share of fourth with Catholic Institute with a strong 4-0 win over Belfast Harlequins at Park Avenue, lifting them to 14 points alongside Catholic Institute.
Loreto, meanwhile, moved above UCD into sixth place with a 4-0 home win over Muckross with Siofra O’Brien netting twice.
Next weekend is the last full round of EYHL games before Christmas with the Junior World Cup seeing a number of shortened fixture lists on December 4th and 11th due to players being away in South Africa.
Women’s EYHL Division 1 results: Cork Harlequins 0 Pegasus 6 (A Speers, E Armstrong, R Maguire, S McCay, L McKee, E Quinn); Loreto 4 (S O’Brien 2, S Torrans, H Matthews) Muckross 0; Old Alexandra 1 (A Russell) UCD 1 (N Carey); Pembroke 4 (C Foley 2, T Wensley, O Macken) Catholic Institute 1 (R Upton); Railway Union 4 (Z Delany, E Smyth, K Dillon, F Maughan) Belfast Harlequins 0
Day eight reports
Pembroke 4 (C Foley 2, T Wensley, O Macken) Catholic Institute 1 (R Upton)
Pembroke produced a blistering first half performance to move clear on their own at the top of the women’s EY Hockey League for the first time with their fourth successive win.
Again, it was built around their incredible speed throughout the team and their ability to attack at full throttle. The first goal came nine minutes in when Emily Beatty raced out of defence, laid off to Sally Campbell and her cross was turned in by Tori Wensley, to finish off a 70-metre move.
Pam Smithwick did brilliantly to deny Campbell and then Wensley from another attack while Aisling Naughton’s powerful shot was blocked by Anna Horan.
Goal number two came via Orla Macken’s corner hit which deflected off the first runner and into the top corner. Claire Foley then forced home from close range after Amy-Kate Trevor’s left wing cross.
Insta finished the first half strong with Róisín Upton denied by Emma Buckley as was Horan while their fourth corner was hit by Naomi Carroll and deflected over the bar.
They very much had the lion’s share of the second half ball and got their reward when Upton’s drag hit a foot on the line and she stepped up to convert the stroke. But they could not break through again and, in the last minute, Foley cleaned up her second after Eanna Horan’s shot came back off the post.
Old Alex 1 (A Russell) UCD 1 (N Carey)
Old Alex and UCD shared a point each from a high class game in Milltown as Abbie Russell’s first half goal was cancelled out by a riposte from Niamh Carey.
Early on, Carey’s twin Michelle was one of the initial driving forces with her speedy runs twice leading to shots that needed to be dealt with by the Alex defence. In return, Alex’s best chance fell to Allie Hetherington from a brilliant ball in from Jessica McGirr but stand-in goalkeeper Laura Gunning made her presence felt to snuff out the chance.
Alex went in front when Mikayla Power cut in from the sideline and her slide-rule pass fell to Zoe Dunne whose touch invited Russell to chip the ball into the net; 1-0 at half-time.
UCD applied a huge amount of pressure in the second half with Leah Paul’s cracking shot saved at the right post while Amy Elliott twice had chances repelled. The students also hit the post before the equaliser came with nine minutes to go with a diving deflection from Niamh Carey from a pin-point cross.
A Lena Tice corner shot was repelled before UCD had a big chance to win it at the end but Carolyn Crampton did well and the tie ended 1-1.
Railway Union 4 (Z Delany, E Smyth, K Dillon, F Maughan) Belfast Harlequins 0
Railway Union moved into the top four with a strong 4-0 win over Belfast Harlequins, built around three first half goals at Park Avenue.
Indeed, they scored in both the first 45 and last 45 seconds of the game, the former coming from an excellent left-wing move with Sarah Hawkshaw and Kate Lloyd combining before gifting Zara Delany with a simple chance for 1-0.
It was a fruitful avenue of attack and almost yielded a second via Orla Patton but she could not get enough on her shot. They switched the point of attack to the right double their lead, Delany popping the ball across a crowded circle where Emma Smyth was waiting to finish off.
Kate Lloyd almost nipped in for another when she pick-pocketed the last defender and the third arrived when Kate Dillon tipped in next from Delany’s under-the-arm pass.
They continued to create the better chances into the second half though Belfast Quins came more into the contest as time wore on. They had a couple of corners but could not get the trap right to tee up Jane Kilpatrick.
From one of their main attacks, Railway almost snagged a fourth but Dillon fired wide with the goal beckoning. As it was, they waited until the final second when Florence Maughan turned in Hawkshaw’s ball across to cap a comfortable win.
Loreto 4 (S O’Brien 2, S Torrans, H Matthews) Muckross 0
Loreto got their third win of the season to rise to 12 points and up one place as they had too much in the tank for their Dublin rivals.
It took them a while to breakthrough, though, as Muckross goalkeeper Aofie Glennon impressed between the posts and, in general, they made life hard for Loreto with a compact defence.
Corners looked the most likely route to get the breakthrough as the set piece count rose and Sarah Torrans eventually profited on the half hour, hitting home after the ball squirmed her way following the first shot.
Hannah Matthews hit the post with a direct strike from another corner in the third quarter and Nicola Torrans just missed out from a great chance created by high pressure. The second came when Matthews stormed through the middle onto a Grace Donald pass and slotted in on her backhand.
Siofra O’Brien then got the third, another backhand shot after Yasmin Pratt had worked the ball into her path. O’Brien hit the post with another chance before getting her second following excellent control, a driving run and reverse-stick shot.
Liz Murphy retained her clean sheet with an excellent sliding interception to block Rebecca McMullen’s attempted cross.
Cork Harlequins 0 Pegasus 6 (A Speers, E Armstrong, R Maguire, S McCay, L McKee, E Quinn)
Pegasus bounced back from their first defeat of the season with a strong 6-0 away win over Cork Harlequins. Alex Speers, Ella Armstrong and Ruth Maguire’s penalty stroke got them halfway there inside the first quarter of the contest.
A corner goal from Shirley McCay and final quarter efforts from Lucy McKee and Emma Quinn completed the result.