Good weekend for Loreto as they earn their festive break
Victories over Railway Union and Catholic Institute move them up to second in the table
Shirley McCay scored twice as leaders Pegasus defeated bottom side Belfast Harlequins 4-2. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
Loreto wrapped up their pre-winter break Hockey League campaign with a flourish over the weekend, taking six points out of six from their games at home to Railway Union and away to Catholic Institute.
Those victories lift them up to second in the table, well-placed to challenge leaders Pegasus when the league resumes in February.
They were both rollercoasters of games too, Loreto falling behind on Saturday to an early Zara Delaney goal for Railway before Grace Donald and Sarah Evans had them ahead by the end of the third quarter.
Sarah Hawkshaw, though, levelled for the visitors, but her Ireland team-mate Hannah Matthews snatched the victory for Loreto with a late penalty corner strike.
Come Sunday, they cruised in to a 3-0 lead against Institute in Limerick, Sarah Torrans, Siofra O’Brien and Jess Meeke all scoring in the first quarter, but Rosie Pratt and Naomi Carroll then pulled two goals back for the home side, leaving it to Matthews again to settle nerves when she made it 4-2 for Loreto.
That was Institute’s second defeat of the weekend having lost 3-2 on Saturday at home to Cork Harlequins, their first victory of the campaign, a double from Emily O’Leary helping Harlequins on their way.
Pegasus, meanwhile, stay top of the table, two points clear of Loreto, after beating bottom side Belfast Harlequins 4-2, Shirley McCay scoring twice.
Pembroke Wanderers drop from second to fourth after a surprise home defeat by Muckross, Anna O’Flanagan setting up Sophie Barnwell for their winner.
And on Sunday, Old Alexandra fought back for a 2-2 draw against UCD at Belfield, having trailed 2-0, a Deirdre Duke double giving them a share of the points.
Hockey League - Saturday: Belfast Harlequins 2 (J Dennison, J Watt), Pegasus 4 (S McCay 2, L McKee, N McIvor); Catholic Institute 2 (E Ryan, R Pratt), Cork Harlequins 3 (E O’Leary 2, L O’Shea); Loreto 3 (G Donald, S Evans, H Matthews), Railway Union 2 (Z Delany, S Hawkshaw); Pembroke Wanderers 1 (A Naughton), Muckross 2 (S Cannon, S Barnwell). Sunday: Catholic Institute 2 (R Pratt, N Carroll), Loreto 4 (S Torrans, S O’Brien, J Meeke, H Matthews); UCD 2 (L Tice, N Carey), Old Alexandra 2 (D Duke 2).