Hermes beat two of their closest rivals to build an imposing seven point lead over the chasers - Cork Harlequins and Ulster Elks - in the women’s EY Hockey League after just seven rounds of matches.
On Saturday, they ran up a 3-0 win over previously fourth-placed Cork Harlequins with final quarter goals from the free-scoring Anna O’Flanagan and a first for the club from Sally Campbell. O’Flanagan had give Hermes the lead early in the second half but Quins stayed in the hunt for the majority of the tie before that late salvo.
Second placed Ulster Elks were the next side to fall to Hermes on Sunday as international trio O’Flanagan – with her 18th goal in eight games – Chloe Watkins and Nikki Evans on the mark in a 3-1 success. The Elks had drawn 2-2 with third placed Railway on Saturday thanks to a brace from Jessica McMaster. Railway retained their place in the top three with a win at Greenfields on Sunday.
Pembroke and Pegasus were the other big movers in the division with back-to-back wins on the double weekend.
Reigning IHL champions Pegasus made a big jump from eighth to fifth as they made it three wins in succession after a tough start to the campaign. Saturday’s 4-1 win over UCD was hugely impressive with Vanessa Surgeoner leading the charge.
UCC were downed a day later 3-1 with Stephanie Thompson scoring twice in the victory for Arlene Boyle’s outfit. It was the second successive loss for the Cork students in Ulster over the weekend in a 3-1 loss to Ards.
For the former, they took the spoils from bottom placed Greenfields on Saturday with a fine 4-0 success with Rachel Scott scoring twice.
A day later, they recorded their first home success of the campaign after three prior losses with a comprehensive 4-1 success against Ards at Serpentine Avenue.
UCD did bounce back from their Saturday loss to beat Cork Harlequins 2-0 thanks to Gillian Pinder and Deirdre Duke efforts.
Next weekend sees the second round of the Irish Senior Cup.
Women’s EY Hockey League
Saturday: Hermes 3 (A O’Flanagan 2, S Campbell) Cork Harlequins 0; Ards 3 (C Brown, B Weir, K Harvey) UCC 1 (C Moloney); Greenfields 0 Pembroke 4 (R Scott 2, K Deverell, S Clarke); Railway Union 2 (H de Burgh Whyte, J O’Halloran) Ulster Elks 2 (J McMaster 2); Pegasus 4 (V Surgeoner 2, H McMillan, A Speers) UCD 1 (A Naughton)
Sunday: Hermes 3 (A O’Flanagan, C Watkins, N Evans) Ulster Elks 1 (G Frazer); Pegasus 3 (S Thompson 2, H McMillan) UCC 1 (E O’Leary); UCD 2 (G Pinder, D Duke) Cork Harlequins 0; Pembroke 4 (R Scott, E Horan, M Horan, A Ward) Ards 1 (C Brown); Greenfields 0 Railway Union 5 (J O’Halloran 2, Z Delany 2, E Smyth)