Ulster Elks slip up at Hermes as Pegasus close gap at the top
The Ulster Elks crashed to their first EY Irish Hockey League defeat of the season when they lost 3-1 to leaders Hermes in Dublin yesterday.
After Gemma Frazer had cancelled out her Irish international team-mate Anna O'Flanagan's opener, second half goals from Chloe Watkins and Nikki Evans made it seven wins in a row for the Leinster side.
Pegasus are creeping up the table after an impressive six-point weekend following a hard-fought 3-1 success over UCC at Upper Malone. The Cork side took the lead in the 20th minute when Niamh O'Leary scrambled the ball home from close-range.
Two goals in the space of three second half minutes from Stephanie Thompson turned the tables before Hannah McMillan sealed the deal when she converted a penalty corner switch with six minutes left.
"We made tough work of it and UCC made us look incredibly average with their work-rate and their style but we just had to believe that the plan we had put in place would work," said Pegasus coach Arlene Boyles.
While Pegasus are back in the frame for a top-three finish, Ards face a tough battle if they are to stay in the hunt after losing 4-1 to Pembroke Wanderers in Dublin yesterday. Irish international Chloe Brown gave the Ulster champions a fifth minute lead but it all went downhill after that as their hosts punished a series of defensive errors to run out comfortable winners.
Meanwhile Queen's will meet Randalstown in the Denman Ulster Shield final on Boxing Day after victories over Lurgan and Harlequins respectively in yesterday's semi-finals at Stormont.
Results: EY Irish Hockey League: Saturday: Hermes 3 Cork Harlequins 0; Ards 3 (C. Brown, B. Weir, K. Harvey) UCC 1; Greenfields 0 Pembroke 4; Railway Union 2 Ulster Elks 2 (J. McMaster 2); Pegasus 4 (V. Surgeoner 2, H. McMillan, A. Speers) UCD 1; Sunday: Pembroke 4 Ards 1 (C. Brown); Pegasus 3 (S. Thompson 2, H. McMillan) UCC 1; Hermes 3 Ulster Elks 1 (G. Frazer); Greenfields 0 Railway Union 5; UCD 2 Cork Harlequins 0.
Denman Ulster Shield semi-finals: Belfast Harlequins 2 (K. Larmour, L. Geddes) Randalstown 4 (J. McGrillen, N. Moore 2, K. McDowell); Lurgan (K. Burns) Queen's 2 (T. Hastings, J. Orr).
Ulster Premier League: Armagh 0 Randalstown 2 (K. Aston, CJ McDonald); Dungannon 0 Queen's 1 (J. Kee); Lisnagarvey 4 (L. Johnston 2, J. Kirkwood, S. McCullough) Portadown 3 (L. Cassels, S. Denver, G. Silcock); Lurgan 0 Belfast Harlequins 0; North Down 1 (L. Clarke) Ballymoney 5 (N. Parke 3, L. McCurdy, R. Minahan).
Senior One: Banbridge 3 Grosvenor 0; Cookstown 3 Ballyclare 1;Knock 5 Victorians 1; Larne 3 Raphoe 4; Rainey 4 Ballymena 1.