Saturday, December 5, 2009

Women's IHL: Railway end Ballymoney hoodoo

Pool A
Saturday: Ballymoney 1 (Lyndsey McVicker) Railway Union 4 (Kate Dillon, Cecelia Joyce, Isobel Joyce, Kate McKenna)
Railway ended their barren run at Ballymoney in some style as they won at the Joey Dunlop Centre for the first time in six efforts in stunning fashion, maintaining their 100pc record in all competitions.

Kate McKenna struck in the final quarter to earn a third straight bonus point victory and create a five point margin between them and the chasing pack.

The Park Avenue side were 2-0 up inside eight minutes when Kate Dillon rebounded off the crossbar and Cecelia Joyce extended her lead at the top of the scoring charts with her fifth goal of this year’s competition.

Irish legend Lyndsey McVicker pulled one back four minutes into the second half after a good run from Julie Allison but Isobel Joyce deflected in a corner within a minute for the game’s vital goal.

The next goal would decide the destination of the bonus point and it was Railway for finished the fourth quarter stronger. Sammy-Jo Greer saved a couple of efforts well but McKenna popped up for the fourth from close range.

Cork Harlequins 2 (Cliodhna Sargent, Karen Bateman) Pembroke 2 (Shona Doyle, own goal)
Pembroke kept their unbeaten record in this season’s IHL intact and stay second in Pool A in bizarre circumstances as the first own goal tied the game, moved to Garryduff after Farmer’s Cross was flooded.

Cliodhna Sargent broke the deadlock in the 25th minute from the penalty spot after Karen Bateman’s corner rebound hit Natalie Fulton’s body on the line.

Shona Doyle’s bizarrely equalised in the 31st minute as her shot initially seemed to be saved by Amy O’Neill but got caught in the goalkeeper’s gear and subsequently squirmed out and into the goal.

Quins continued to make the play and returned to the front in the 41st minute when Yvonne O’Bryne, Rachel McSharry and Leslie-Ann Daunt combined to set up Emily O’Leary. Her shot hit the post but rebounded to Bateman to restore the lead.

But within 40 seconds the game’s most memorable moment went against the hosts. Sarah Clarke’s speculative long ball took a slight bobble and O’Neill got a poor contact in attempting to clear to clip her pad and in.

Sunday: Ards 2 (Katy Fraser, Janice Vaughan) Cork C of I 0
Ards recorded their first ever IHL win to all but eliminate Cork C of I after three series of games as deflections from Katy Fraser and Janice Vaughan did the damage. Hannah Coey created the goal for the former as the impressive Fraser continued her good run of form. The teenage Coey raced past three tackles before smacking a ball to Fraser to guide home. That lead remained in effect to the break and Vaughan sealed the win in the third quarter when she applied the touch to Eimear Horan's shot.

C of I attacked from then on, aiming to earn at least a losing bonus point but corner chances went incomplete and Ards move very much into the play-off reckoning.

Pool B
Saturday: Old Alex 1 (Laura McCoy) Hermes 3 (Aoife Harte, Niamh Atcheler, Jenny Kinch)
Alex’s first home IHL game started in superb fashion as Laura McCoy knocked in a second phase corner from Nicola Grey’s initial corner strike.

But thereafter Hermes showed their experience to turn the tie around and earn their second win on the spin and move into second place in Pool B.

Hermes side equalized in the lead up to half time when Pamela Smithwick was penalised for taking out Anna O'Flanagan; Aoife Harte put away the ensuing stroke despite Smithwick's touch.

Hermes forged a greater hold of possession as time wore on and took the lead in the third quarter when Niamh Atcheler was the scorer in a goalmouth scramble.

And Jenny Kinch weighed in with the third of the day to seal three points. Hermes Captain Christine Quinlan was delighted, saying afterwards: “It was a tough game, in tough conditions against a quality side. It was always going to be hard to come to Milltown and we're delighted with the win.”

UCC 1 (Audrey O’Flynn) Pegasus 2 (Arlene Boyles, Michelle Harvey)
The width of a post denied UCC a draw in a dramatic tie at a sodden Garryduff this afternoon, but Pegasus were full value for a 2-1 that puts them in control of Pool B.

The Belfast side weathered some early UCC pressure to take control of the middle quarters, their opening goal coming on the stroke of half-time, as skipper Arlene Boyles' corner hit found the backboard via a defender's stick.

And they doubled their advantage six minutes after the break when a Michelle Harvey drag went in off UCC keeper Karen Olden's glove.

But College showed great character to come back and dominate the final period, and they gave themselves a lifeline when skipper Audrey O'Flynn roofed a drag-flick on 56 minutes.

She had another chance to level the tie with three minutes to go, but saw another thunderbolt drag come back off the inside of the upright, and Julia O'Halloran blasted the rebound wide to ensure Pegs claimed a third win on the trot. College must be satisfied with a bonus point.

Sunday: Loreto 4 (Cathy McKean 2, Nicci Daly, Nikki Symmons) Randalstown 0

Champions Loreto recorded their first win in this season’s IHL with a well deserved 4-0 win over Randalstown on a bitterly cold afternoon at Beaufort. Indeed, it could have been more as the hosts drew a string of fine saves from Jeanna Holmes to prevent a landslide victory as Loreto firmly got back into the semi-final shake-up.

Two goals between the 15th and 17th minute set the wheels in motion. Nikki Symmons and Cathy McKean combined to carve an opening for Nicci Daly to despatch and soon after Nikki Keegan's poise drew Holmes from her line to feed McKean for the 2-0 goal.

Symmons blasted a corner rebound to make it three before the break and a cricket score looked on the cards but, despite six second half corners, only one further goal was forthcoming. Catriona Tipping and Sinead McGirr this time the creators with the former producing the exquisite pass to find McKean who scored from close range. The win gives the group a more familiar look with the three 2009 semi-finalists now occupying the top three slots.

* For John Keogh's photos of Loreto vs Randalstown, click here while Ondine Roche and Simon MacAllister's photos from UCC vs Pegasus are here


Anonymous said...

The university challenge poster doesn't say a time!

gale said...

very quiet on the results this week...