Pratt’s double for Institute blows title race wide open

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Rosie Pratt’s quick-fire double in the closing 10 minutes saw Catholic Institute bust the Munster women’s Division One title chase back open as the Limerick club beat UCC 2-1.

Anything else would have given the students champions-elect status but the stunning comeback sees Insta move top by a point. UCC still have the advantage of a game in hand but any further slips and Ger O’Carroll’s team are in prime position to pounce.

For most of 40 minutes, Kate Harvey’s strike had UCC narrowly in front but they will rue not adding to the tally in a dominant first half.

Insta hung tough through that spell with goalkeeper Mariana Birdthistle keeping them in the game. Having ridden their luck at times, caution was thrown to the wind and it yielded dividends with a series of penalty corner chances.

From a clever switch move, Pratt was left with time and space to shoot home an equaliser.

Soon after, with a similar move, she repeated the trick, ending UCC’s perfect record in the league this season.

For the chasers, Bandon saw off Belvedere 3-1 with goals from Rachelle Nyhan, Rachel Desmond and Alison Hathaway. They sit third with four points to make up on second and a place in the EY Hockey League play-offs.

On the men’s side, it was also a day for winning streaks to come to an end as both UCC and Bandon came unstuck.

For the latter, they were pegged back by basement side Harlequins who recorded their points of the campaign in a 2-2 draw.

John Hobbs scored twice with David Smith and Chris Wood on the mark for Bandon.

While that result was disappointing, it did move the west Cork side two points clear at the top as UCC lost to Cork C of I B 2-1. Alex Deane scored a rare double, opening up with a baseline effort before winning the tie with a sliding deflection, sandwiching a Sam Grace drag-flick. Third place Limerick were unable to take full advantage with a 0-0 draw against Ashton.

On the national stage, Pembroke scraped into the Irish Senior Cup semi-finals with a second successive dogfight against mid-table Ulster opposition. They eventually beat Mossley in a shoot-out after a 3-3 draw in normal time.

Cork C of I will play Three Rock Rovers in their quarter-final after the Dublin club advanced with a 5-2 win over Cookstown. Lisnagarvey eliminated Railway Union 2-0 while Glenanne were too strong for Queen’s.


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