Railway Union lift Jacqui Potter Cup
Speers on the double in Grange Road
Twice she reacted sharply to touch home first time to build a 2-0 lead before Jean McDonnell’s blockbuster extended the margin out to three with nine minutes to go.
Niamh Small’s virtuoso right wing effort pulled one back for Loreto but it was scant solace as Railway’s game plan was devastating in dismantling their hopes.
Their day had started on a low note as stalwart Nikki Keegan was ruled out with a knee injury while 199-time international Nikki Symmons was not eligible to play having not lined out in a club game to date this season. Railway’s team news was more positive as captain Emer Lucey was fit to take up her place in sweeper after six weeks out and just 15 minutes of hockey under her belt on Thursday evening.
Perhaps buoyed by this, they buzzed throughout, hounding the back four in packs of twos and threes, to pin the Beaufort side in their own 25.
A swarm of Speers, Kate Lloyd and Jean McDonnell combined to dispossess Sarah Clarke 16 minutes in, creating a three on one chance that was neatly converted.
McDonnell’s pass went to Lloyd's strong backhand side where she angled a ball to Speers on the left post and the Irish captain duly stabbed home for 1-0.
The chances continued to flow for Railway in the second half as Jessie Elliott produced a number of key interventions.
McDonnell cracked another clear effort wide but when Kate McKenna jinked through a couple of tackles and flipped the ball Speers way, her poked finish all but assured the win.
McDonnell's thrashed home from the left of the circle for some extra gloss before Small’s persistence got one back – an excellent solo effort – but too late for any major drama.
RAILWAY UNION: G O'Flanagan, I Joyce, K Dillon, H Jenkinson, K McKenna, J McDonnell, C Joyce, E Smyth, S Dooley, E Lucey, O Fox, A Speers, J O'Halloran, K Lloyd, Z Delany, K Clarke
LORETO: J Elliott, A Meeke, S McGirr, C McKean, R Keegan, L Colvin, N Small, C O'Kelly, S Clarke, H Mulcahy, H Matthews, A Campion, J McGirr, C Baker, S Evans