Old Alex bid to retain their place in the IHL via the playoff route gets underway this evening at Grange Road as they battle it out with Munster’s third ranked side, Catholic Institute.
Both sides are bolstered by returning stars. Alex welcome back Roisin Flinn following her WCQ travels while Institute have Irish captain Eimear Cregan – a mid-season transfer from Cork Harlequins – available for selection after Chile. And the Limerick side go into the tie with the greater volume of recent hockey under their belt.
They were still in the mix for an automatic IHL place on the final day of the regular Munster league season, bagging a draw against eventual champions Quins while, as Irish Hockey Trophy winners, have been on a serious high this term. Rising star Naomi Carroll is one to watch for the Milltown club.
The other pairing contesting the positions is Ballymoney who play Greenfields, going in search of Connacht’s first place in the national league.
The Galway girls renew their rivalry with Institute on Sunday morning, hoping to over-turn that Trophy defeat.
Dora Gorman scored the league winning goal on Tuesday night, supplementing Alma Whelan’s strike, to add to her incredible recent success across three different sports, as Greenfields beat Galway 2-1 in a play-off to reach this phase.
Ballymoney are first up, though, and aiming to bring Ulster’s quota in the IHL back up to five after Belfast Harlequins fell at this hurdle last time around. Bridget Cleland provides the defensive foundations.
ESB IHL Wildcard playoffs (all at Grange Road):
Friday, May 14: Old Alex vs Catholic Institute, 7.30pm, front; Ballymoney vs Greenfields, 8pm, back Saturday, May 15: Greenfields vs Old Alex, 3.15pm, back; Catholic Institute vs Ballymoney, 5pm, back Sunday, May 16: Greenfields vs Catholic Institute, 11.30am, back; Ballymoney vs Old Alex, 3.30pm, back