Sunday 18 February 2018

Hockey: Ireland stars can lead Hermes to European spot

David Medcalf

Leinster also-rans Hermes enter the national league women's finals at the weekend as favourites to earn a place in European hockey.

The Booterstown-based outfit finished off the pace in the province, fifth in the table and 14 points shy of winners UCD.

However, the loss of form on the home front can be accounted for by the distractions of Ireland's foiled bid to reach the Olympics.

With their six internationals back in harness, Hermes now present a formidable prospect at the IHL play-offs in Hillsborough.

Irish goalkeeper Emma Gray conceded just one goal as the team eased to the knockout phase.

They play Railway Union in Saturday's semi-final, while holders Pegasus of Belfast clash with Loreto in the other half of the draw of an event dominated by the Dublin clubs.

Pegasus have been struggling of late in the absence of defensive lynchpin Arelene Boyles, who has been struggling with a leg injury.

In the men's event, YMCA are the surprise package after they topped their pool to earn a crack at Monkstown in the last four.

With Marcus Richardson and Jonathan Bruton leading their attack, they have begun to deliver on promise that failed to materialise in lesser competitions.

The other semi-final is an all-Ulster affair, with provincial league winners Cookstown pitted against perennial rivals, and tournament hosts, Lisnagarvey.

Irish Independent

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