Glorious weekend for Harlequins

Cork Harlequins enjoyed a sublime weekend with the men landing the Munster Division 1 crown while the women earned an Irish Senior Cup final spot.

For the men, their 6-1 success against Ashton on Saturday formally got them over the line though it has looked to be in the pipeline for at least six weeks.

As always this term, Julian Dale was a crucial figure as his tally closes in on 40 goals for the season with a double underpinning their 11th win out of 11.

It put them out of range of Waterford, 10 points back and now with a fight on their hand for second place which may yet bring an EYHL2 place.

In the women’s Senior Cup, Harlequins are into their fourth final as Emma Barber’s direct strike dug out a 1-0 win over runaway EYHL leaders Pegasus in Belfast.

Just seven days earlier, they endured a tough 3-0 loss in the league at the same venue.

The absence of Shirley McCay and Yvonne O’Byrne due to an international training camp was dealt with better by Quins who played at an excellent tempo throughout and got their rewards.

Becky Maye made key saves in the first half before the Cork side began to control matters after the break with Barber taking on the corner shooting duties for a rare goal.

And they clung on to that narrow lead to complete a perfect weekend for the club.

They will meet Loreto in the final after the Dubliners won a shoot-out against Railway Union at Beaufort after normal time ended scoreless, setting up a repeat of the 2003 decider.

Cork C of I also have a national final to look forward to following their 2-1 success against NUIG in Galway with Ciara Sexton the hero in the Irish Hockey Trophy semi-final.

She countered an opening effort from Catherine Timon from the Connacht champions, equalising before half-time and then fired a crisp winner with just two minutes to go.

It gives them a shot at their third Trophy success following wins in 2014 and 2015.

Like Harlequins, C of I’s men also had plenty to celebrate following their first EYHL win since November 2017, giving them huge hope of a potential great escape.

They held on to beat Cookstown 3-2 as Jonny Bruton and Kevin O’Dea excelled in Co Tyrone.

John Jermyn came back from injury to open the scoring before Bruton laid on Stephen Parker’s second for the side.

French Erasmus student Thomas Chamuleau extended the lead to three before Cookstown fought back but C of I held on to cut their gap at the bottom from six to three points.

Next weekend is now massive for them with home and away games against Monkstown – who have little to play for – offering opportunity.

Their mood, though, was tempered somewhat by Sunday’s 5-0 loss to Three Rock Rovers in the Irish Senior Cup semi-final.

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