Women’s hockey sides bracing for final weekend of senior cup action

UCD face Loreto and Belfast Harlequins meet Pegasus in semis with final the following day

Due to refixtures the semi-finals and final of the women’s Senior Cup will take place this weekend. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Due to refixtures the semi-finals and final of the women’s Senior Cup will take place this weekend. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

 

After months of delays, the women’s Irish Senior Cup reaches a swift conclusion with UCD facing Loreto at Santry Avenue and Belfast Harlequins meeting Pegasus, making for a Leinster/Ulster decider.

By accident rather than design, the competition has partially returned to its old format of semi-finals and final all taking place over one weekend due to the mass of refixtures this term.

Originally, the semis were due to be in late February but some second-round matches had only just been cleared due. As such, the move was made to play the semis on Saturday and the final on Sunday – albeit not in one big festival at one venue like in previous years.

Indeed, UCD have had to give up home advantage for their game against Loreto with the National Stadium hosting the Irish Hockey Trophy and Challenge finals.

But whether Loreto can make the switch to Santry Avenue an important point remains to be seen; Miles Warren’s side have yet to lose on the road on the national stage this term.

The students should have Deirdre Duke and Sara Twomey after concussion protocols in the wake of the Jacqui Potter Cup final on St Patrick’s Day while Sorcha Clarke could also return, making them the clear favourites.

Nasty injury

Loreto’s Hannah Matthews, sustained a nasty head injury last time out against Ards. For the Beaufort, her bravery will be a key influence at the back along with the driving force of Ali Meeke in midfield for a young side who will be looking to overturn two league defeats to UCD in what is their last real chance of silverware.

In Belfast, Harlequins are the underdogs against Pegasus but have plenty of weapons in their armoury to cause problems. A midfield of Zoe Wilson, Lizzie Colvin, Gemma Frazer and Robyn Chambers oozes international quality while Lucy Geddes and Jenna Watt provide the firepower up top.

Getting things right defensively, though, is their issue having conceded the second most in the EYHL.

Pegasus are keenly placed to exploit any gaps with former Irish captain Alex Speers leading the line and Shirley McCay whipping in the long passes from the left side.

The final will take place at 1pm on Sunday at Belfield.

On Saturday, the Trophy final sees Limerick’s Catholic Institute hope to add to last Monday’s Munster Senior Cup win when they face Mossley.

In the Challenge final, Cork’s Blackrock come up against NUIG who feature Irish international Brenda Flannery.

Weekend fixtures

(Saturday unless stated)

Men

EY Hockey League: Banbridge v Railway Union, 2.45pm, Banbridge Academy; Monkstown v Cookstown, 2.30pm, Merrion Fleet Arena, Monkstown.

Irish Senior Cup: semi-finals (Saturday): Glenanne v Three Rock Rovers, 3pm, St Andrew’s College; Lisnagarvey v Pembroke Wanderers, 3pm, Comber Road

Sunday: Final 3.45pm, Belfield

Irish Hockey Trophy Final: Bandon v Portrane, 2pm, Belfield.

Leinster Division One: Dublin University v Corinthian, 3pm, Santry Avenue; UCD v Dublin North, 3pm, Belfield; YMCA v Rathgar, 3pm, Wesley College

Women

Irish Senior Cup, semi-finals (Saturday): Belfast Harlequins v Pegasus, 2.30pm, Deramore Park; UCD v Loreto, 1pm, Santry Avenue

Sunday: Final, 1pm, Belfield

Irish Hockey Trophy final: Mossley v Catholic Institute, 12pm, Belfield.

Irish Hockey Challenge final: Blackrock v NUIG, 4pm, Belfield.

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