WOMEN’S HOCKEY: Dominant Hermes cruise into Europe

Cork Harlequins' Yvonne O'Byrne (left) and Pegasus' Rosie Henderson
Cork Harlequins' Yvonne O'Byrne (left) and Pegasus' Rosie Henderson

Hermes claimed the first European spot on offer from the women’s EY Hockey League as their devastating form confirmed they will top the regular season of the competition.

They swept to a 9-0 win over Greenfields in Galway which, in tandem with Ulster Elks 3-1 win over UCD, means they are out of reach of all the chasers with four rounds of matches to go.

They lead the pack by 14 points having run up an incredible 13 wins and a draw to date.

The win over Greenfields was comprehensive, racing into a 3-0 lead in the first quarter and a five-goal advantage at the break.

The result also meant that Greenfields will be relegated back to the Connacht regional league for the 2016-17 season.

Hermes benefitted from the resurgent Elks’ important 3-1 win against UCD. Megan Frazer’s early penalty stroke was counter-acted by Elaine Carey’s 38th minute goal.

But two goals in three minutes – a cracker from Dawn Axon and a close range effort from Robyn Chambers – saw the Elks race clear. They move back into the top half of the table and back into range of the playoff places.

Pegasus moved up to second place in the race for the EY Champions Trophy playoff places with a crucial win over in-form Cork Harlequins.

Steph Thompson opened the scoring from the penalty spot for 1-0. Yvonne O’Byrne cracked it levelled matters just after the break.

Pegasus hit back through Vanessa Surgenor and Alex Speers wrapped it up with a third.

Harlequins drop to sixth and will need to pick up at least three wins from their final four games to have a chance of a playoff spot.

Nicola Kerr’s goal saw UCC produce a hugely important 1-0 win at Serpentine Avenue against Pembroke to raise their hopes, once again, of possibly avoiding the relegation playoff tie.

They are two points off Ards whom they will play on March 6th in a potentially crucial battle to avoid that playoff place.