All four Munster sides in action on the national stage had tough weekend as Cork Harlequins, UCC, and Cork C of I’s men and women suffered defeats.
UCC’s playoff hopes were dented after their 2-1 loss to Monkstown in EY Hockey League Division 2. Jenny Clein fired the students into a first-quarter lead but Town, without the services of Irish star Chloe Watkins, fought back with Aine Naughton equalising before Jen Hamill grabbed the winner in the second half. It leaves the students in third place, three points back from Monkstown who occupy the second playoff place in the five-team group at the halfway stage of Pool B.
It means UCC will probably need at least three wins out of four, starting off against Greenfields on February 1, to have a chance of advancing.
Cork C of I’s women, meanwhile, were undone by a rampant Trinity in Santry 6-2.
The results leaves them fourth in Pool A with six points to make up in the new year; Corinthian look all but home and hosed with a flawless record.
On the national stage, Cork Harlequins’ wait for a first Hockey League success of the season goes on after a Nikki Evans-inspired Old Alex raided Farmers’ Cross for a 3-2 win. She struck twice in the first half either side of an Orna Bools goal to give the Dubliners a 3-0 half-time lead.
Niamh O’Leary and Emma Barber closed the gap but time ran out on the hosts who continue to be without their two biggest stars, Yvonne O’Byrne and Cliodhna Sargent, through injury. They are fielding a side that has an average age of 19 and lacking vital experience at this level.
On the men’s side, C of I’s hopes of a monumental Irish Senior Cup shock got short shrift from Lisnagarvey.
Daniel Nelson gave them a seventh minute lead from Ollie Kidd’s pin-point pass and penalty corner goals from Andy Williamson and Troy Chambers meant the tie was out of reach at half-time. It ended 5-0 and while the scoreline may not look pretty, plenty of illustrious sides have endured worse this season.
Garvey will face Glenanne – 2-0 winners over Monkstown – in the semi-finals while UCD will meet Cookstown. UCD ended Three Rock Rovers’ two-year reign as champions with a 3-2 success while Cookstown shocked Pembroke, also 3-2.
Locally, Bandon advanced to the Peard Cup final with something to spare as they saw off Ashton 8-1 with Fionn O’Leary scoring a hat trick.