Railway Union and Cork Harlequins make big strides
Duo have the edge over Pembroke and Belfast in battle for Champions Trophy qualification
Zara Delany scored a hat-trick as Railway Union beat Belfast Harlequins 5-1. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho
While the top two in the Hockey League maintained their positions with victories on Saturday, Railway Union and Cork Harlequins made big strides with wins that lifted them above both Pembroke Wanderers and Belfast Harlequins to give them the edge, for now, in the battle for Champions Trophy qualification.
A Zara Delany hat-trick helped Railway cruise to a 5-1 win away to Belfast Harlequins, the Dublin side finding some very useful form of late having won three and drawn two of their last five Hockey League games.
Cork Harlequins, meanwhile, maintained their exceptional away form with their fourth victory from five games on the road, Rebecca Barry, Michelle Barry and Caoimhe Perdue getting their goals in what would have been an even more comfortable margin of victory but for the goalkeeping for Alexandra’s Pamela Smithwick. Railway and Cork are now tied on 15 points, just two adrift of third-placed UCD who didn’t have a game at the weekend.
Loreto stay a point clear of Pegasus after their biggest win of the season, Irish internationals Hannah Matthews (two), Nicci Daly and Ali Meeke all chipping in with scores in a 6-0 defeat of bottom side Muckross, Ellie McLoughlin preventing an even heavier defeat with some fine goalkeeping.
And Pegasus bounced back from last week’s defeat by UCD, Shirley McCay giving them a third minute lead against Pembroke with a penalty corner strike before Michelle Harvey made it 2-0 from play just before half-time.
Hockey League – Saturday: Muckross 0, Loreto 6 (H Matthews 2, S O’Brien, N Daly, A Meeke, M Jennings); Old Alexandra 0, Cork Harlequins 3 (R Barry, M Barry, C Perdue); Belfast Harlequins 1 (C Weir), Railway Union 5 (Z Delany 3, C Joyce, K Lloyd); Pegasus 2 (S McCay, M Harvey), Pembroke Wanderers 0.