Gemma Frazer’s pair of corner goals saw Belfast Harlequins record probably the biggest shock of the women’s EY Hockey League’s short history as they earned a share of the spoils at Hermes-Monkstown on Saturday.
When the two sides met in September, Hermes-Monkstown ran up 10 goals and 22 points separating the clubs going into the tie, showing the gap in expectation.
But Frazer’s deflected shot four minutes from the end tied up matters for a famous draw. She had given her side the lead in the first half only for Sophie Moore’s goal and a Chloe Watkins’ penalty stroke to swap the lead.
The result allowed UCD, on Sunday, to close the gap to two points at the head of the table thanks to their 3-0 win over Ards. Sally Campbell and Sorcha Clarke gave them a great start before Abbie Russell completed the win.
Pembroke got their first win of the campaign to move level on points with Belfast Harlequins and Ulster Elks, winning the Dublin 4 derby with Railway Union.
The hosts went 1-0 up via Zara Delany before the big break but a superb third quarter performance from Pembroke turned things around. Hayley O’Donnell scored a corner rebound before Laura Noble picked up the pieces to net for 2-1 and they held on for the result.
Loreto made it four wins from their last five outings to move within a point of the top three in table thanks to a 2-1 win over Cork Harlequins on the road. Quins bossed the early stages and went in front through Naomi Carroll.
But Lizzie Colvin and Hannah Matthews turned things around from corners to grab the result and strengthen their place in the top four at Christmas.
Pegasus recorded an impressive win with a 9-0 success against Ulster Elks with former Irish captain Alex Speers netting a hat trick while Michelle Harvey scored her first goals for the club since returning from injury and a three-year spell in Belgium.
EY Hockey League – day 10 results
Saturday: Hermes-Monkstown 2 (S Moore, C Watkins) Belfast Harlequins 2 (G Frazer 2); Cork Harlequins 1 (N Carroll) Loreto 2 (L Colvin, H Matthews); Pegasus 9 (A Speers 3, S Ferris 2, M Harvey 2, H Craig, K McKee) Ulster Elks 0; Railway Union 1 (Z Delany Pembroke 2 (H O’Donnell, L Noble)
Sunday: Ards 0 UCD 3 (S Campbell, S Clarke, A Russell)
Day 10 extended reports
Hermes-Monkstown 2 (S Moore, C Watkins) Belfast Harlequins 2 (G Frazer 2)
Gemma Frazer’s double saw Belfast Harlequins record probably the biggest shock in the women’s EY Hockey League’s short history, striking four minutes from the end to earn a share of the spoils.
They defended strongly throughout against a side that had scored 10 against them in the return fixture back in September and had gone unbeaten ever since to build a four-point lead at the head of the table.
They took the lead in the first half when they counter-attacked to win a corner with Frazer’s strike taking a deflection en route to the roof of the net. Hermes-Monkstown equalised by half-time when Sophie Moore finished off some determined play in the circle.
And the hosts took the lead in the 44th minute when Anna O’Flanagan was upended in the process of shooting, leading to a penalty stroke. Chloe Watkins converted.
But they could not press home that advantage and Harlequins showed threat throughout with Gemma Frazer driving her side on. With four minutes left, they got their chance and once again, Frazer was the playing to fire home via defensive stick.
Cork Harlequins 1 (N Carroll) Loreto 2 (L Colvin, H Matthews)
Loreto moved to within a point of Cork Harlequins in third place as they made it four wins from five games to complete the first half of the season. They were under pressure early on at Farmer’s Cross with Rebecca Barry, Naomi Carroll & Olivia Roycroft causing havoc up front.
Carroll had one taken off the Loreto line after only a couple of minutes before giving Quins the lead soon after. Her shot on the half volley flew into the roof of the net from a tight angle. A fantastic finish from the Irish International. Barry nearly doubled the lead a few minutes later. After beating the last defender, she found herself up against Louisa Healy in the Loreto goal, with the goalkeeper coming out on top.
Loreto started to come more into the game in the second quarter. Hannah Matthews found herself in space and moved the ball well, picking out some fantastic passes. Chances were limited for both sides as Lizzie Colvin tried to get a foothold in the middle of the pitch for Loreto while Lina Geyer and Roisin Upton were doing their best to keep possession for Quins. Loreto forced their first penalty corner a couple of minutes shy of half-time only for a switch left to go wide of the post.
The third quarter started as the second had finished and while chances were again at a premium, Loreto slowly began to look more dangerous. Good work from Niamh Small led to their second corner which they were unable to convert. Loreto won another corner just on the whistle at the end of the quarter. This time they took their chance with a shot from Lizzie Colvin, after a fine quarter from her, flying into the bottom left corner to make it 1-1.
The last quarter was a more even affair with both sides flooding forward at every opportunity looking for the win. It was Loreto who had the first chance of the period when they were awarded their fourth penalty corner.
After the initial shot was well saved by Emma Buckley in the Quins goal, the rebound fell to Matthews who made no mistake in flicking the ball over the goalkeeper and into the roof of the net to make it 2-1 to the visitors.
Barry immediately had a chance at the other end. Her reverse stick shot just firing past the angle of post and crossbar. A good run from Roisin Upton for Quins led to another chance for Michelle Barry but Healy in the Loreto goal again saved well to secure the points.
Pegasus 9 (A Speers 3, S Ferris 2, M Harvey 2, H Craig, K McKee) Ulster Elks 0
Pegasus claimed their first win since September in emphatic style, running up a nine-goal thumping of their Ulster rivals at Queen’s to put daylight between them and the bottom trio.
They took the lead in the 28th minute when Alex Speers reacted quickest to rebound the fourth penalty corner of the game. Two minutes later, Ruth Maguire’s pass found Hannah Craig who, in turn, released to Taite Doherty to provide the final pass for Speers, the former Irish captain, to net for 2-0 at half-time.
Five goals followed in the third quarter. Hannah Craig deflected in Doherty’s pass for the third; a minute later, Speers had her hat trick; then Michelle Harvey got in on the act with a well drilled corner routine. Kate McKee got the sixth from a flowing team move before Suzanne Ferris made it 7-0 at the third break. Further goals in the closing two minutes from Ferris and Harvey completed the rout.
Railway Union 1 (Z Delany Pembroke 2 (H O’Donnell, L Noble)
Pembroke finally broke their winless streak to move off the bottom of the women’s EY Hockey League table for the first time this season with two goals in the third quarter.
In an even first half, Railway started the strongest but Pembroke came more into the game as time wore on with few chances for either side with most of the play between the 23 metre lines.
The Park Avenue gradually upped the tempo and, in the closing 10 minutes of the half, applied more pressure which paid off. Michelle Carey played through to Emma Smyth who found Zara Delany in the circle who put the ball past Tiffaney Ellis for 1-0.
But the game was turned on its head in the third quarter as Pembroke equalised just a minute after half time when Hayley O’Donnell shot past Grace O’Flanagan in the Railway goal from the second phase of a penalty corner.
Ten minutes later, Pembroke went ahead when they played a ball in from the left which was deflected high. O’Flanagan attempted to palm the ball away but it fell to Laura Noble who calmly slotted it into the net.
It set up a lively closing phase. Railway mounted a series of attacks to try and get back on level terms, even taking off their goal keeper in the dying minutes, but were unable to find a way through a well organised and dogged Pembroke defence.
Pembroke mounted a few attacks of their own and held on to the 2-1 win to record their first win in this year’s EYHL. It leaves them in a three-way tie at the bottom with Belfast Harlequins and Ulster Elks at the bottom.
Sunday: Ards 0 UCD 3 (S Campbell, S Clarke, A Russell)
UCD closed the gap to two points to Hermes-Monkstown at the head of the EYHL table as early goals from Sally Campbell and Sorcha Clarke set them up for their seventh win from 10 outings to date.
The students started well, penning Ards back in their own 23 metre area with Katie Mullan to the fore. They took the lead through Campbell, finishing off a fine team move with a backhand strike. Soon after, Clarke got on the end of a crash ball for 2-0.
The second and third quarters were quiet enough apart from a couple of corners with Ards saving one effort off the line. Caroline Adams and Ashley McIlroy proved tough opponents to break down for UCD while Lucy McKee, Katy Bennett and Tamara MacLeod were lively in attack during this phase for the hosts.
But UCD finished strong with the Patton sisters Orla and Sarah on form, overlapping from the back, and one such move led to the killer goal from Abbie Russell tapping in at the back post.
Banbridge moved back to the head of the men’s EY Hockey League following a pre-Christmas shake-up of the top five with day nine providing plenty of thrills despite a reduced schedule.
Bann provided some serious fireworks in the first 25 minutes in sweep aside struggling Railway Union 4-0. All the goals came in that early period with Peter Brown and Dane Ward both scoring in the first eight minutes before Eugene Magee and Matthew Bell extended the lead out.
The second half was lower key with the damage already done. The result lifted Bann to the top of the table – with a game in hand – courtesy of previous incumbents Monkstown’s loss to Lisnagarvey.
Garvey’s 4-2 win earned them a modicum of revenge for their recent Irish Senior Cup defeat to the same opponent and came following a breathless, end-to-end battle.
Matthew Nelson opened the scoring with a diving touch to Neal Glassey’s excellent cross for 1-0 at half-time. Monkstown levelled via a Kyle Good thunderbolt but two goals from Andy Williamson in quick succession were the key moments.
He rebounded off his own shot for 2-1 before finishing off a Nelson assist for 3-1. Richard Sykes got Town back in the mix with 10 minutes to go but a heavily deflected Michael Robson goal – his first since switching from Annadale a fortnight ago – sealed the deal.
Garvey move up to third as Monkstown dropped to second place.
In Cork, C of I withstood a huge Glenanne siege to come away with a 2-1 win to rise up to fourth place – jumping above Three Rock Rovers whose tie with Instonians was frozen off.
Stephen Parker gave the Garryduff hosts an early lead only for Eddie O’Malley to level by the end of the first quarter. The tie stayed in the balance for long periods before John Jermyn fired home a corner in the 52d minute. Glenanne piled on the pressure in the closing stages but could not find a goal and so stay in relegation danger at Christmas.
Men’s EY Hockey League: Instonians v Three Rock Rovers, postponed due to frost; Railway Union 0 Banbridge 4 (Pe Brown, D Ward, M Bell, E Magee); Cork C of I 2 (S Parker, J Jermyn) Glenanne 1 (E O’Malley); Monkstown 2 (K Good, R Sykes) Lisnagarvey 4 (A Williamson 2, M Nelson, M Robson)
Day nine extended reports
Railway Union 0 Banbridge 4 (P Brown, D Ward, M Bell, E Magee)
Banbridge took their place at Christmas number one with a devastating first half performance to comprehensively beat Railway Union 4-0, all the goals coming in the first 25 minutes.
The signs had already been ominous before Peter Brown got them up and running in the sixth minute. Two minutes later, Dane Ward applied a composed finish on his backhand for the second as Bann ran riot. Eugene Magee scored the third in the 19th minute when Bruce McCandless was able to ease into the circle before having two bites at crossing to Eugene Magee to tap in from close range.
Goalkeeper Stephen O’Keeffe made a series of brilliant saves during this half to limit the damage as well as forcing Peter Brown and Jonny McKee to both shoot into the side-netting. The fourth goal, however, came from Matthew Bell’s drag-flick.
The second half was a more sedate affair with Railway enjoying more of the play as Bann’s relentless pace slowed. The hosts did have a goal disallowed in bizarre circumstances as a shot ricocheted off a Bann foot and dribbled toward goal where Gareth Lennox somehow contrived to fresh-air his kick.
The ball just cleared the line but umpire Robert Johnston – with no possible way of predicting the miskick and envisaging the unlikely advantage – had blown just before for the corner. Bann’s defence held firm at that corner and a couple of others to stay 4-0 clear.
Monkstown 2 (K Good, R Sykes) Lisnagarvey 4 (A Williamson 2, M Nelson, M Robson)
Andy Williamson’s pair of third quarter goals saw Lisnagarvey win a cracking encounter between two of the league’s leading lights. The first half simmered with the pace of Matthew Nelson and Gareth Watkins proving a feature while a high quality midfield battle was played out with Neal Glassey’s robust skills a strong element in a trio with Sean Murray and Michael Robson.
He drew a top save from Max Maguire before setting up the opening goal for Nelson, a driving run and cross from the right that the recently capped teenager dove onto for a fine goal.
When given space, Watkins was at his direct best and his brilliant run led to an opening corner that James Milliken did well to parry away from Lee Cole’s drag. He also earned Murray a green card for a loose tackle with his quick hands on halfway.
Garvey had a big chance for number two on the hooter but Daniel Buser could not get a clean strike on a bouncing ball from a corner rebound.
It laid the base for one of the best halves of hockey this season with the latter 35 minutes sweeping from end to end at an incredible tempo. Kyle Good levelled in the 40th minute after Stephen Cole’s excellent steal on the left wing, feeding his Irish team mate who pumped home a rocket from top D.
Watkins and Davy Carson combined at speed to go close to taking the lead but Garvey counter-punched. Richard Arneill put in the diagonal cross from the right that Williamson dove onto. Maguire saved it but Williamson, in a flash, got back to his feet and regathered the ball to slam home.
His second came soon after as Nelson evaded a tackle on halfway and used his pace to set up a big overload. He slipped to Williamson to flick home for 3-1 at three-quarter time.
Richard Sykes got the game back into the balance with a corner drag and Town had a couple of big opportunities to draw level with Watkins and Stephen Cole shooting over from narrow angles when a low cross might have been the option.
And, with five minutes to go, Garvey clinched the win. Buser had three chances to shoot – his coach Errol Lutton and manager Dean Beckett imploring him to do so – but delayed long enough for Robson to arrive. His cross took a heavy deflection and nestled in the corner for 4-2.
Cork C of I 2 (S Parker, J Jermyn) Glenanne 1 (E O’Malley)
John Jermyn’s third quarter goal earned Cork C of I their fifth win of a productive first half of the campaign, seeing them jump above Three Rock Rovers – whose tie was postponed due to frost – into fourth place.
The game opened at a frantic pace. In the opening minute Julian Dale forced a mistake from the Glenanne defence but saw his shot crept inches wide of the far post.
In the 14th minute John Jermyn intercepted a loose ball outside the 23 and found an unmarked Stephen Parker who slotted the ball under Ian Clarke in the Glenanne goal. A minute later Parker turned from hero to villain when his careless pass in midfield was intercepted and, from a clever move, Eddie O’ Malley finished at the back post from a pin point cross.
Buoyed by the late goal Glenanne started the second quarter on the front foot. They won a number of penalty corners but these were repelled by Billy Lynch in the C of I goal.
Just before half time some good work down the right wing by Stephen Sweetnam saw his cross whizz past the back post. Glenanne were awarded a penalty corner on the half time hooter but Shane O’Donoghue’s flick was well saved by Lynch in the CI goal, keeping the tie level at the break.
Into the second half, Glenanne had the home side pinned in for long periods but CI were dangerous on the break with Andrew Daunt and Alex Burns breaking quickly.
In the 52nd minute Daunt forced an error to win a penalty corner. Up stepped Jermyn who slotted his flick high to the Clarke’s right. From there, Glenanne laid siege to the C of I goal with Stephen Parker taking a yellow card to up the ante.
The Dubliners won a spate of penalty corners but O’Donoghue had no answer to the Man of the Match Billy Lynch in the CI goal, their hopes of grabbing an equaliser proving frustratingly out of reach.