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UCD looking to hold on to top spot in Hockey League

In-form student side faces Pembroke Wanderers as Cork Harlequins take on Trinity

Monkstown’s Anna O’Flanagan and Ruth Maguire of Pegasus in action earlier this year. Photograph: Rowland White/Inpho/Presseye

After a three-week break the Hockey League resumes this weekend with UCD looking to maintain their lead at the top of the table when they take on Pembroke Wanderers at Serpentine Avenue.

While it’s early days yet, it’s proving to be a healthily competitive league so far with five of the 14 games played ending in draws and just one goal separating the teams in another four.

This time last year, UCD and Monkstown had already opened a gap on the chasing pack that was never narrowed, but 12 months on no team has a perfect record, with only a youthful Monkstown, now shorn of internationals like Chloe Watkins, Anna O’Flanagan and Nikki Evans, yet to get off the mark.

Opening-day win

Cork Harlequins kept in touch with the top two in the early stages of last season before drifting away, but they’ve started brightly again, following up their opening-day win away to UCD with draws against Pegasus and Ards – all three opponents now filling the top-three slots in the table. On Saturday they’re back in Dublin to play a Trinity side that picked up their first win of the campaign against Pembroke last month.

The pick of Sunday’s games looks like the meeting at Queens of Pegasus, joint second on five points, and Loreto, on four points, both sides unbeaten so far.

Ards, level with Pegasus and also unbeaten, make the short trip to take on Belfast Harlequins who are on three points, while Monkstown will look to get off the mark against a Railway Union side that has drawn all three of their games.

Hockey League

Saturday: Trinity v Cork Harlequins, Santry Avenue, 1.0.

Sunday: Pegasus v Loreto, Queens, 1.30; Belfast Harlequins v Ards, Deramore Park, 2.30; Railway Union v Monkstown, Park Avenue, 2.40; Pembroke Wanderers v UCD, Serpentine Avenue, 4.0.