Saturday, May 2, 2009

Loreto and Hermes to contest inaugural IHL final

Loreto and Hermes will face off once again for the premier title in Irish hockey as they beat off the challenges of Cork Harlequins and Pegasus respectively at Grange Road this afternoo, setting up a repeat of last year's club championships final.

Loreto looked supremely impressive in their 2-0 win over Quins, giving up just one circle penetration all game when Jane Chapple flashed across the goal deep into the second half.

Other than that effort, the entire flow of the game was toward Amy O'Neill's goal. Nikki Keegan opened the scoring inside 80 seconds before doubling up early in the second half from a penalty corner strike.

Nikki Symmons was in masterful form in midfield, aided Niamh Small's pace, Cathy McKean' trickery and plenty of other impressive contributions around the park.

Indeed, the sole worry would be the Beaufort side could have buried the game much earlier.
In the other semi-final, Hermes produced a more convincing scoreline but were indebted to a great rearguard effort that kept out 11 of Pegasus 12 corners. Hermes started the brighter, spurred on by Jenny Burke's guile, but Pegs slowly worked their way back into the game and forged six corners by half-time.

Emma Gray and Aoife McCarthy's second phase work, though, meant the Pegasus efforts came to nought. Indeed, they were still well on top early in the second half before Nikki Evans returned from the sin-bin to oepn the scoring with a thunderbolt from the blue - cracking in a reverse from the top of the circle.

It stretched the game out and Hermes began to create chance after chance on the counter-attack. Evans netted two more from close-range, first time snap-shots from right wing crosses - down which Aoife Harte was a menace throughout before Arlene Boyles spanked in a consolation with seven minutes to go.
No matter, Harte deflected in Jenny Burke's corner strike from their sole corner of the day for 4-1 with four minutes to go for a flattering win.

Results: Loreto 2 (Nikki Keegan 2) Cork Harlequins 0; Hermes 4 (Nikki Evans 3, Aoife Harte) Pegasus 1 (Arlene Boyles)

* For Deryck Vincent's pictures from Hermes vs Pegasus, click here and Adrian Boehm's pictures from the Loreto vs Cork Harlequins, click here

No comments: