UCC continued their habit of doing things the hard way but eventually progressed to a second successive Irish Hockey Trophy final with a 3-2 win over South Antrim at the Mardyke on Saturday.
Neil Welch’s students were gunning for revenge after losing last year’s decider to South, and that desire showed in the opening 10 minutes as Fionn O’Leary deflected home passes from man of the match Andy Gray and Stuart O’Grady for a 2-0 lead.
But College failed to kill the game off despite their first-half superiority and allowed the Ulster outfit back into it, with Ian Harbinson reversing home while Chris Henry finished off a corner move.
But O’Leary turned provider with three minutes to go, playing in Colin Manning, and the Kilkenny man’s slightly miscued shot found its way into the bottom corner. College will now meet Donegal side Raphoe — conquerors of Portadown in the other semi — in the April 1 decider at UCD.
UL were left with mixed feelings after drawing 2-2 with UCC, ending the Cork side’s hopes of automatic Irish Hockey League qualification in the process.
Emma Sherlock’s opener was cancelled out by UCC’s Kate Humphries, but Eadaoin Moore claimed the slightest of touches on a looping cross that bounced into the top corner in a controversial second for UL.
The hosts tied it up again through Aine Curran, put the dropped point means only Quins or Bandon can take second place.
Karen Bateman bagged a hat-trick in Quins’ 8-1 dismissal of Cork C of I, meaning they need just a draw from their final league clash against the west Cork side. They could wrap it up before that though, if Bandon fail to take maximum points from their three games in hand.
Katie Campbell hit the pick of the goals as champions Catholic Institute put themselves one win away from a perfect season with a 9-0 win at Ashton, but the Limerick club’s men went down 4-3 at Quins B to all but condemn them to the bottom rung in the men’s top tier.
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