Wins over two Ulster teams saw Railway Union storm back into contention for a women’s EY Hockey League Champions Trophy place.
They shut out both Ulster Elks and Ards in a weekend double-header, the first time they have won back to back league games since the opening two matches of the season.
A single goal from Niamh Carey on Saturday was enough to see Railway beat the Elks before a penalty corner goal in each half on Sunday – one each from Orla Fox and Emma Smyth – lifted them into fifth place.
For Ards, it put a dent in their playoff chances, although they had recorded a dramatic win on Friday evening when Chloe Brown struck in the last minute to win an Ulster derby against Belfast Harlequins 1-0.
Elks, meanwhile, remain at the foot of the table, a point behind Pembroke.
Hermes-Monkstown won a thrill-a-minute 4-3 tie at Cork Harlequins as Anna O’Flanagan added another double to her incredible scoring exploits. Nikki Evans started the run and the Dubliners were 3-0 up before Olivia Roycroft got Quins on the board.
But O’Flanagan’s second put Hermes out of range of a Cork comeback that featured Karen Bateman and Rachael Kohler goals.
They remain a point behind league leaders UCD, who were comfortable 4-0 winners at Pegasus, building a 3-0 lead in the first half courtesy of Abbie Russell, Deirdre Duke and Sorcha Clarke’s tenth goal of the season.
Loreto proved too strong for Pembroke to stay in fourth place in the rankings as Jessica McGirr fired a hat trick from play in a 3-0 win.
On the men’s side, Monkstown ended their four-game losing streak when Davy Carson fired a late winner in their 3-2 success against Railway Union.
All the other goals came in a helter-skelter first quarter with brothers Jeremy and Simon McKeever countering goals from Matteo Romoli and Jason Lynch.
Town move closer to the Champions Trophy places, now three points behind Cork C of I but with a game in hand, while Railway remain in the relegation playoff zone, ahead of only basement side Instonians.
Women’s EY Hockey League
Friday: Ards 1 (C Brown) Belfast Harlequins 0
Saturday: Cork Harlequins 3 (O Roycroft, K Bateman, R Kohler) Hermes-Monkstown 4 (A O’Flanagan 2, E Curran, N Evans); Ulster Elks 0 Railway Union 1 (N Carey); Pegasus 0 UCD 4 (K Mullan, D Duke, S Clarke, A Russell); Pembroke 0 Loreto 3 (J McGirr 3)
Sunday: Railway Union 2 (O Fox, E Smyth) Ards 0
Men’s EY Hockey League: Railway Union 2 (J McKeever, S McKeever) Monkstown 3 (M Romoli, J Lynch, D Carson)