WOMEN’S HOCKEY: Hermes stand alone at top of league after closest rivals drop vital points

Cecelia Joyce
Cecelia Joyce

Hermes stand alone at the top of the EY Hockey League rankings for the first time after their two nearest rivals – Railway Union and Ulster Elks – both drew in round four of the competition.

For Railway, they were indebted to Cecelia Joyce’s late goal four minutes from the final whistle to keep their unbeaten record alive, earning them a 1-1 tie at Ards after they had trailed for a long time to Amy Benson’s goal.

That ended their perfect record in the competition while the Elks also saw their 100% record broken away from home on a 1-1 scoreline.

They had led 1-0 against UCD at Belfield via Canadian star Anna Kozniuk but Irish international Deirdre Duke levelled the game in the second half.

Those results allowed Hermes to move two points ahead at the top of the rankings as they recorded their second win in seven days against Greenfields – the first meeting was in the Irish Senior Cup – by a comfortable margin.

Anna O’Flanagan extended her record to nine goals in two games and 14 in total this season with a hat trick in the 8-1 success.

Pembroke moved into the top half of the division thanks to Amy-Kate Trevor’s crucial goal against her former club UCC to earn a 3-2 victory at the Mardyke.

Orla Macken and Sarah Clarke had given the Dubliners a 2-0 advantage at half-time before the students fought back but Trevor’s first goal for the club kept them out of range.

Olivia Roycroft played a key role for Cork Harlequins as they saw off Pegasus to move into the top half of the table with their second win. She netted twice, including her side’s crucial third goal, in a 4-2 win in which Miriam Crowley and Rachel Hobbs were also on the mark.

EY Hockey League results: Cork Harlequins 4 (O Roycroft 2, M Crowley, R Hobbs) Pegasus 2 S Ferris, A Speers); Ards 1 (A Benson) Railway Union 1 (C Joyce); Hermes 8 (A O’Flanagan 3, C Watkins 2, N Carroll 2, N Evans) Greenfields 1 (Gilligan); UCC 2 (S Browner, A McGrath) Pembroke 3 (O Macken, S Clarke, A-K Trevor); UCD 1 (D Duke) Ulster Elks 1 (A Kozniuk)