Loreto aim to shake things up as Irish Hockey League resumes
Hermes, UCD and Cork Harlequins currently fill qualifying spots for Champions Trophy
Irish Hockey League resumes on Saturday after a seven-week break. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
After a seven week break the Irish Hockey League resumes on Saturday with Hermes-Monkstown, UCD and Cork Harlequins currently filling the qualifying spots for the end-of-season Champions Trophy. Just six points separate third and seventh, though, so Loreto, Pegasus, Railway Union and Ards are all still in contention with eight games to go.
Loreto have a chance to shake things up when they host UCD at Beaufort having already taken points from the unbeaten students in a 2-2 draw back in September. It was, though, a disappointing opening to the campaign for Loreto who took just five points from their first five games, but a 13-point haul from their last five makes them one of the IHL’s form teams.
UCD, fresh from knocking Hermes out of the Irish Senior Cup last weekend, will be the sternest test yet of that unbeaten run, while Loreto will look to bounce back from their cup exit at the hands of Pegasus.
Hermes and Cork Harlequins will both expect to pick up wins from home ties against Ards and bottom-club Ulster Elks, but while the table suggests Pegasus should do the same away to Pembroke Wanderers, with 11 points dividing the teams, Pembroke’s form has picked up since losing the opening eight games of the campaign. They’ve taken four points from their last two outings, and will have been buoyed by last weekend’s cup success away to Ballymoney.
Their ‘reward’ for that victory was a semi-final draw against UCD, while Pegasus will be at home to Cork Harlequins.