Belfast Harlequins 5 (Kellie Thornton 3, Clare Coey 2) Cork C of I 1 (Julie O'Sullivan)
Belfast Harlequin cut loose in the final quarter against Cork C of I to claim a bonus point win. Kellie Thornton opened the scoring early on but CI were level when Julie O'Sullivan's struck from the top of the circle.
Clare Coey got the hosts back in front to the delight of the Deramore crowd after Judy Getty's initial burst. Thornton made the game safe with 12 minutes left from a corner, Coey bagged the bonus point in the 63rd minute before Thornton wrapped up her hat-trick.
Railway Union 6 (Cecelia Joyce 3, Kate McKenna, Emma Smyth, Jean McDonnell) Randalstown 2 (Judith Atkinson, Grace Watters)
Mick McKinnon's innovative side did their semi-final hopes a power of good as they were way too strong for Randalstown, picking up a bonus point. Cecelia Joyce - a converted midfielder - scored a hat-trick of deflections, as well as hitting the bar and directing the ball goalwards for Smyth's goal in a great display of centre-forward scavenging.
Meanwhile, Jean McDonnell, Smyth and Kate McKenna have pace to burn that perfectly suits the new rules format, creating some truly brilliant goals. Joyce hit the bar from the first such move in the sixth minute with a reverse. Railway, though, were rocked on their heals at the start of the second quarter as Judith Atkinson pinged in from the top of the circle.
Two goals in two minutes from perfectly executed corners turned the game around before half-time - the second a peach - preceding a second-half onslaught. McKenna roofed a reverse, reacting fastest to a rebound 30 seconds after the break. Smyth created and scored the fourth with a brilliant solo run along the left end-line, crossed for Joyce and tapped in her the latter's goal-bound shot.
McDonnell aerialled in the fifth before Grace Watters netted a rebound. Thoughts of losing the bonus point, though, were dispelled when Joyce deflected in a McDonnell long corner and subsequently claimed the Player-of-the-Match award.
* Loreto P Pegasus P
UCD P Ballymoney P
Armagh 0 Hermes 2 (Jenny Kinch, Gillian Pinder)
Hermes became the only side in Group B to claim two wins from two but were made to wait by a determined Armagh whose defence stood firm until the final quarter when Jenny Kinch converted a well-worked corner.
Gillian Pinder added the goal two minutes later that denied the hosts a bonus point, collecting Anna O'Flanagan's right-wing cross and slot home and seal the win. They top the group but their lack of bonus point yet means they can be caught in top spot by Ballymoney should they win their rearranged game with UCD.
Cork Harlequins 1 (Karen Bateman) Pembroke Wanderers 0
Karen Bateman's 27th minute goal was all that separated the sides at Farmer's Cross as Cork Harlequins move into second place in the group while Pembroke's bonus point means they remain in the mix in third.
Pembroke started slightly the better, creating three clear-cut chances but could not convert. Quins, though, found their feet and won four corners, the last of which was switched to Bateman. It took a heavy deflection to sail high into the net for a half-time advantage.
The visitors again started the half better, winning two corners one of which hit the post. At the other end, Rachel Kohler forced a great save out of Jane Coyne, ensuring Pembroke's bonus point.
*Armagh vs Hermes pictures courtesy of Deryck Vincent while a couple of Railway vs Randalstown pictures can be seen here and pictures from sportsfile here.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 10:37 PM