UCC have a big opportunity to pick up the pieces from last weekend’s shock defeat to Limerick as they host Greenfields on the resumption of the women’s EY Hockey League.
The students were dumped out of the Munster Senior Cup on penalties by Limerick — one of the most famous wins in the latter’s 16-year history — as they were caught cold in their first game of 2016.
Student sides don’t tend to handle the Christmas break well; scattered throughout the country for the holidays and unable to collectively train, the first game back is usually an issue in terms of coherence.
Two years ago, UCC’s Munster league bid unravelled in a 2-0 defeat at Catholic Institute in early January. College coach Phil Oakley will expect a big reaction from his charges as they host Greenfields, the only side below them in the national league. The students won the return leg 4-0 in Galway on the first day of the season, starting a trend of tough results for the westerners, who have yet to pick up a point.
UCC haven’t covered themselves in glory either, as they went winless for three months before defeating local rivals Cork Harlequins by the odd goal in three a week before Christmas.
Quins sit in fifth, right in the centre of a congested mid-table that sees five points cover six sides. Victory at home against second-placed Railway Union, therefore, could leapfrog Stephen Dale’s girls above the Dubliners.
Quins won 4-0 against Waterford in their Munster Senior Cup clash last weekend, though that scoreline wasn’t a true reflection of a dominance that saw them win over 25 penalty corners. They’ll hope for better conversion rates this time around.
Outside of the EYHL, it’s a key weekend for many Munster sides. Victory for women’s Division 1 leaders Catholic Institute over second-placed Bandon would give them an eight-point lead over the chasing pack; third-placed Ashton will attempt to keep pace as they host Cashel/New Inn, who lie fifth.
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