UCD retain their Irish Hockey League title in style

Relegation battle goes down to the wire as Monkstown defeat Trinity

Katie Mullan: scored twice as UCD defeated Ards 7-1 to claim  the Irish Hockey League title.  Photograph: Laszlo Gecczp/Inpho

Katie Mullan: scored twice as UCD defeated Ards 7-1 to claim the Irish Hockey League title. Photograph: Laszlo Gecczp/Inpho

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UCD sealed their second successive Irish Hockey League title in some style on Saturday, a 7-1 win away to Ards giving them their 13th successive victory in the competition and completing an IHL and Irish Senior Cup double.

And they’ll be firm favourites to make it a treble in early May when they’ll attempt to retain their Champions Trophy crown at Three Rock Rovers before turning their attention to the EuroHockey Club Cup in Surbiton later in the month.

It’s been a phenomenal season so far for the Miles Warren-coached students who have only been beaten once in the 22 games they’ve played in national competitions, Cork Harlequins defeating them in the first weekend of the IHL back in September.

They swept Ards aside on Saturday with both Katie Mullan and Abbie Russell helping themselves to two goals apiece, Sara Twomey, Katherine Egan and Lena Tice chipping in with the rest of their scores.

Pegasus, meanwhile, got the point they needed, in a 1-1 draw with Belfast Harlequins, to guarantee their place in the Champions Trophy alongside UCD and Cork Harlequins. But the battle for the last qualifying spot will go down to next weekend’s final round of fixtures after a fine 4-3 win for Loreto away to the Cork side, combined with Railway Union’s failure to beat Pembroke Wanderers.

Railway, in fourth, have a three-point advantage over Loreto but have only one game left – away to Cork Harlequins – while Loreto will have a double-header next weekend, away to Trinity and home to Pegasus.

And the relegation battle will go down to the wire too after bottom club Monkstown picked up just their second win of the season on Saturday, beating Trinity 3-0.

That narrowed the gap between the teams to just a point, but Trinity doubled that advantage with a surprise draw away to Cork Harlequins come Sunday, one that moved them within a point of third-from-bottom Pembroke.

It all goes down to the final games, then – and tough ones they are too: Monkstown play UCD, Trinity take on Loreto and Pembroke are away to Belfast Harlequins.

Hockey League – Saturday: Trinity 0, Monkstown 3 (R Carrigan, C Quinlan, R Moore); Ards 1 (C Brown), UCD 7 (K Mullan 2, S Twomey, A Russell 2, K Egan, L Tice); Belfast Harlequins 1 (R Johnston), Pegasus 1 (R McMillan); Cork Harlequins 3 (M Barry 2, Y O’Byrne), Loreto 4 (S Clarke, A Meeke, N Small, C Hamill); Railway Union 0, Pembroke Wanderers 0. Sunday: Cork Harlequins 1, Trinity 1 (N Sweeney).

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