They led the competition overnight on Saturday thanks to a resounding 5-1 win over NUIG and a 1-1 draw with Ulster champs Lurgan from an over-time Jenny Clein equaliser.
But Sunday morning’s 2-1 loss to eventual winners Muckross proved pivotal. A win against Old Alex in their final game could have given Denis Pritchard’s side a second chance in the last promotion-relegation playoff next Sunday against Trinity.
But they spurned several penalty corner chances, including one in the final minute, to end with a 0-0 draw and out of the running.
Elsewhere, Loreto secured the final Champions Trophy ticket on Sunday with a 1-1 draw against Pegasus, adding to a 6-0 hammering of Trinity on Saturday. It was enough to push them ahead of Railway Union who lost 2-0 to Cork Harlequins, Roisin Upton and Rebecca Barry scoring in the second half.
Harlequins look forward to a playoff date against Pegasus while UCD meets Loreto in the other semi-final next weekend in Rathfarnham.
In the men’s promotion playoffs, Bandon let a 4-3 lead slip in the closing three minutes to fall 5-4 to Bangor at the semi-final stage on Saturday.
It was one that got away as they led three times with Clinton Sweetnam and David Smith both scoring twice to put them in front in the closing stages.
The Ulster side, however, snatched a leveller in the 67th minute at Garryduff via Rhys Cunningham before Ryan Burgess scored a buzzer-beating penalty corner.
Bangor produced similar late heroics on Sunday, scoring three times in the last nine minutes of the playoff final to draw 4-4 with YMCA only to lose in a shootout. YM replace fellow Dubliners Railway Union while Bangor will face Cookstown in next Sunday’s promotion-relegation decider.
Cork C of I closed out their EY Hockey League campaign on Saturday with a 4-3 loss to a Pembroke side featuring several Munster men.
The result that lifted the Dublin club into the season-ending Champions Trophy playoffs.
David Lynch gave C of I an early lead before Pembroke took over, building a 3-1 lead with Alan Sothern’s double raising his seasonal league tally to 31 goals.
Andrew Salter got one back before Jack Ryan restored Pembroke’s two-goal wedge. Andy Gray nailed a corner in his last major act for C of I before retiring from playing to pursue umpiring and some coaching projects.