Women’s Hockey: UCD and Cork Harlequins still setting the pace

Hannah Matthews’ hat-trick helps Loreto stage a gutsy comeback in Belfast

Katie Mullan: was on target for UCD in the big win over Trinity. Photograph: Paul Walsh/Inpho

Katie Mullan: was on target for UCD in the big win over Trinity. Photograph: Paul Walsh/Inpho

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With 12 goals between them, UCD and Cork Harlequins comfortably retained their spots in the top two of the Hockey League at the weekend, UCD putting seven past Trinity on Sunday while Harlequins remain the only unbeaten side in the competition after a 5-1 win at home to Ards.

It was a tale of two halves for UCD, an early goal from Sorcha Clarke all that divided the teams at the break, but the defending champions proved much more clinical from there on, scoring three goals in each of the final quarters.

Katie Mullan set up Deirdre Duke to make it 2-0, before Mullan’s reverse strike increased the lead. Freya McDermott added a fourth and while Ellie Noone pulled one back for Trinity, Duke again, Sarah Young and Anna Richardson completed an emphatic victory in the final quarter.

Cork Harlequins had a similarly slow start against Ards before Róisín Upton broke the deadlock just before half-time.

A Naomi Carroll double and another goal from Olivia Roycroft had them 4-0 up by the time Chloe Brown pulled one back for Ards, with Yvonne O’Byrne making it 5-1 from a penalty corner late on.

Pegasus stay third – four points behind Harlequins and another one adrift of UCD, but with a game in hand – thanks to a Lucy McKee goal that gave them the points away to Railway Union.

And the Belfast club were back in action on Sunday in their refixed Irish Senior Cup second round tie at home to Genesis, Rachael McMillan scoring twice in a 6-0 win.

The comeback of the weekend was produced by Loreto who were 3-0 down in their Hockey League game away to Belfast Harlequins, but fought back for a draw thanks to a Hannah Matthews hat-trick, two of her goals from penalty strokes.

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