STEPHEN SWEETNAM’S short corner prowess proved the difference as UCC recorded a valuable 2-1 Munster league win over Catholic Institute at Rosbrien on Saturday.
The former Cork C of I man dragged home twice in the second half as Neil Welch’s charges came from a goal down to record their fourth win of the campaign.
Bandon were the other big winners, closing the gap on C of I at the top to eight points via a 3-0 win at Quins B.
Rob Smith and Dave Smith notched a tidy deflection each in the first half, before Andrew Scannell converted a hotly-disputed penalty stroke. Bandon’s corner defence – they survived eight set-pieces unscathed – proved vital in keeping their hosts at bay.
In the women’s league, Cork C of I ended their west Cork hoodoo with a 2-1 win at Bandon, ending the hosts’ three-game winning streak in the process. The Garryduff girls had developed a habit of dropping points to Eddie Kirwan’s side in recent seasons, but slick strikes from Julie O’Sullivan and Claire Hickey – before Rachelle Nyhan plundered a late consolation.
Basement side UL had no answer to champions Cork Harlequins, and there were doubles for sisters Hilary and Jane Chapple, Jane Bourke and Karen Bateman, in Quins’ 11-0 rout.
Ashton dominated their clash with Waterford, but the visitors claimed a priceless 2-1 win thanks to a last-ditch strike from Stacey Browne.
Holders Cork C of I brushed aside Newry 6-1 away from home in the Irish Junior Cup, and will have either Cookstown or Glenanne at home in the last eight.
Bandon’s men led Bangor 1-0 after 20 minutes but eventually succumbed 4-1, while YMCA caused the shock of the round, knocking out last year’s finalists Pembroke 1-0 with a golden goal from Pete Thompson.
Limerick’s Robbie Ryan bagged a hat-trick in their 4-0 defeat of Omagh in the Irish Challenge, while chief executive of the Gaelic Players Association Dessie Farrell was on target as St Brendan’s saw off Kilkenny 2-1.
In the quarter-finals of the women’s competition, a strike from defender Kate O’Sullivan wasn’t enough to prevent UCC falling to a 2-1 loss at Lurgan. Railway Union, Old Alex and Randalstown also advanced.
Last year’s finalists YMCA and Fermoy both progressed to the last four of the women’s Irish Challenge; the latter now face one of the longest away days in Irish hockey, as they visit Raphoe in Co Donegal.
The second round of the men’s Irish Senior Cup was finally completed, with Three Rock Rovers beating Ulster champions Cookstown on penalty strokes after a goalless stalemate, while Brian Groves’ golden goal handed Monkstown a 3-2 win at Raphoe.
In Leinster, new leaders Hermes followed up their hammering of previous incumbents of the top spot, Railway Union, with a 5-0 whitewash of UCD. Anna O’Flanagan’s treble was the highlight of that win, but Railway kept the pressure up with a 2-0 win at Glenanne, while Nikki Keegan’s late penalty stroke helped an under-strength Loreto to a 1-0 win over Trinity to stay third.
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