Harlequins hope to sign off on a high

Cork Harlequins hope to have a winning finish to the first phase of a productive women’s EY Hockey League campaign this weekend.

Harlequins hope to sign off on a high

Their date with Ards will be just their second home game of the season — one which sees them within a point of leaders UCD with seven lengthy road-trips already under their belt.

It will be a tough battle, though, for Stephen Dale’s free-scoring side, against an outfit who are intent on defending compactly before looking to star player Chloe Brown to provide magic in the danger area.

Her showdown with Cliodhna Sargent, as such, will be a crucial head-to-head. Win that battle and Quins can look to get their over-lapping game going, freeing Yvonne O’Byrne to break down the right flank at pace. That strategy has been a key avenue, delivering perfect service for Naomi Carroll and Rebecca Barry’s intertwining runs and one that can serve them well. Win and it would put them top overnight before UCD meet Trinity on Sunday.

Elsewhere, basement Limerick host third-place Bandon in the weekend’s only Munster Division One clash.

On the men’s side, Cork C of I will look to do the double over Railway Union to close out 2017 in mid-table in the EY Hockey League table and well clear of any relegation thoughts. It comes just five weeks since C of I rolled over the Sandymount club at Garryduff with John Jermyn scoring one of his seven goals in this campaign with Alex Moffett also chipping in.

Neil Welch’s team have been inconsistent with heavy defeats punctuated by solid results against sides in the bottom half of the table. Jermyn’s corners and Julian Dale’s wizardry are critical, giving them a bit of magic that the likes of Railway have not managed.

C of I’s B team, meanwhile, reached the first senior men’s cup final of the season with a midweek victory over Ashton in the Peard Cup. Mark Gallagher put C of I in position to advance in normal time only for Damian Buttimer to equalise in the last minute. But Ashton could not carry that momentum through to the stroke competition which Garryduff won 3-2. They face UCC in the decider on St Stephen’s Day.

Like the women, Limerick and Bandon meet in the only Munster Division One game on the cards with the west Cork outfit looking to preserve their perfect record and move top on their own. UCC will expect to advance their Irish Hockey Trophy hopes when they host Cork Harlequins at The Mardyke.

The students shaded their previous meeting in the league 2-0 and will anticipate a repeat performance against a side yet to trouble their winning column.

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