Women’s Hockey: Tougher season in prospect for champions UCD
New-look College aiming to get their first points on the board when they travel to Ards
Railway Union, Belfast Harlequins, Loreto and Pegasus will be looking to make it two wins out of two on Saturday. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho
After opening their Hockey League campaigns with victories last weekend, Railway Union, Belfast Harlequins, Loreto and Pegasus will be looking to make it two wins out of two on Saturday, while reigning champions UCD will attempt to get off the mark when they head north again to take on Ards.
Having lost just one game in all of last season’s competition, and none at all the season before, UCD might struggle to repeat that level of dominance this time around as they look to bed in a string of newcomers. Just four of their starters against Pegasus last weekend had played for the club before.
Ards, who lost 7-1 to the students in last season’s corresponding fixture, drew 0-0 with Muckross last weekend, the Dublin side face what is likely to be a sterner test when they take on their coach Sarah Scott’s former club Loreto.
Just as they did in last season’s Champions Trophy final, Loreto got the better of Cork Harlequins a week ago, Sarah Clarke and Niamh Small getting their scores in a 2-0 win.
Harlequins will hope to rebound from that defeat when they host Old Alexandra at Farmers Cross, Alexandra going down 3-0 at home to Railway last weekend, while Pembroke Wanderers will also be looking to get points on the board after losing to Belfast Harlequins, Pegasus their visitors at Serpentine Avenue.
Railway and Belfast Harlequins, meanwhile, meet at Park Avenue, Railway also having a much changed squad this season, among their departures a trio – Niamh Carey, Nina Heisterkamp, Michelle Carey – moving to UCD and Grace McLoughlin joining Loreto.
Sarah Hawkshaw has, though, returned to the club from the University of Massachusetts while three players have arrived from Trinity, Cliona McCullough, Carolyn Crampton and Niamh Sweeney.
EY Hockey League – Saturday: Loreto v Muckross, Grange Road, 1.0; Pembroke Wanderers v Pegasus, Serpentine Avenue, 2.0; Cork Harlequins v Old Alexandra, Farmers Cross, 2.30; Railway Union v Belfast Harlequins, Park Avenue, 3.0; Ards v UCD, Ards Park, 4.0.