Harlequins’ hopes hanging by a thread

Cork Harlequins’ hopes of making the Irish Hockey League semi-finals are hanging by a thread after a 3-1 defeat to Ards.

It leaves Quins eight points off pool leaders UCD with two rounds remaining and means Loreto’s trip to Cork in February will hold the key to the Leesiders’ fate.

UCC are in a similarly perilous position, cursing a slow start as first quarter goals from Christine Quinlan and Rosie Carrigan gave Hermes a 2-0 win over the Cork students.

Hermes and Pegasus - who scored a big 3-1 win over Railway Union with Alex Speers against her old club - lead the way in Pool A on 10 points each; College need to beat Railway in Cork in round four to have any hope of being in that mix.

In the men’s IHL, UCC ran out of puff against Pembroke, losing 6-1 after an encouraging first half. Cork C of I will still be wondering how they let Railway Union leave Garryduff with the points, the Park Avenue side winning 3-2 having been two up through Philip Sweetnam and John Jermyn.

In Munster, newly-promoted Cashel/New Inn continue to be a major thorn in the side of the established women’s Division One clubs. Having seen off Cork C of I 2-1 a few weeks ago, they repeated the trick by beating Bandon by the same margin at Rockwell.

With the bottom three sides dropping into the new Division One Challenge league after Christmas, the result ends Limerick’s hopes of staying in the top six.

They and Fermoy are on the way down but who will join them is up for decision - Cashel/New Inn, Bandon, Ashton and C of I - are all locked on nine points each.

Rosie Pratt and Kym Daly guided league leaders Catholic Institute to a 2-0 win over Ashton that maintains the league’s only 100% record.

In Division 1B, Waterford and Clonakilty guaranteed themselves a place in the Division 1 Challenge with a 2-2 draw in west Cork, while Clonmel will also be there despite a 1-0 reverse at Cork Wanderers.

That result moves Wanderers back into the picture while wins over Bruff and Dungarvan respectively have Tipperary and Belvedere in the mix too - however only one of those three are guaranteed a place in the new competition.

Cork Harlequins were the big winners on the men’s side as two David Egner strikes helped them come from two goals down to beat Bandon 3-2.

Andrew Tutty and David Cardy both bagged a brace as Limerick overturned a 2-1 half-time deficit to win their derby clash with Catholic Institute 4-2.

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