Cliodhna Sargent’s penalty corner strike powered Cork Harlequins into the Irish Senior Cup semi-finals as they snatched a late 2-1 win over Muckross.
She struck with six minutes remaining to eventually break the resolve of the Dublin hosts and their hugely impressive teenage goalkeeper Ellie McLoughlin.
It puts Quins in the hat along with Loreto, Railway Union and Pegasus with opportunity knocking due to the enforced absence of international stars for the latter stages of this competition.
Early on, the tone of Quins’ win was set with Muckross largely sitting deep, making things congested and waiting to counter while the Munster side held the vast majority of the ball.
They did get a breakthrough when Rebecca Barry slid home on her reverse in the 20th minute but Muckross replied via Sarah McAuley’s set-piece equaliser on the half-hour.
And that was how it remained until deep into the second half when Quins finally got their winner. They did have to play out a nervy last few minutes with both Barry and Julia O’Halloran in the sin-bin but prevailed to advance.
UCD’s title defence ended at the hands of Loreto in a shootout after defenders Hannah Matthews and Hannah McLoughlin had traded goals in normal time. World Cup star Matthews scored the decisive strike in the shootout to see Loreto through 3-2.
Elsewhere, Alex Speers netted all four for Pegasus in their 4-2 success against Pembroke while Railway eliminated Ards 3-1 at Park Avenue.
In the Irish Hockey Trophy, Cork C of I kept alive their hopes of winning the title for a third time as they survived a shootout against Three Rock Rovers.
Hannah Honner scored twice in normal time for a 2-2 draw and they won the deciding contest 2-1 in spite of a spectacular Laoise Geraghty juggling effort.
In Munster Division One, Catholic Institute took a huge step toward the domestic title with a 5-1 win over Ashton with Ciara Moloney scoring twice.
The sides had been level on points before the weekend but the Limerick side recovered quickly from a third minute Kate Burke goal to win with something to spare.
Moloney’s double and goals from Jane Kirby and Aoife Hickey made it 4-1 at the break and they were pretty much out of sight. They now lead by three points with a game in hand but have big ties against UCC and Ashton in the coming fortnight.
Indoors on Sunday, Ashton’s first taste of All-Ireland competition was a tough one, losing 11-0 to Railway Union at the Antrim Forum in the National Indoor Trophy semi-final.
Munster men’s champs Limerick fared little better against Three Rock in their semi, losing 17-2.
In the men’s outdoor Munster Division One, Harlequins moved ever closer to the title with a sparkling second-half performance to beat Cork C of I B 5-0.
After a scoreless first half, Julian Dale scored three in quick succession to swing the tie Quins’ way. Henry Brophy and John Allen added another couple as they maintained their 10-point lead over Waterford who were 4-2 winners at UCC.