Dominant Loreto stay top with stunning win
Loreto served up an ominous warning for the rest of the women's EY Hockey League as they swept aside fourth-placed Belfast Harlequins 5-1 at Grange Road.
It keeps them top on goal difference, making it six wins from seven, ahead of Pegasus who edged past Old Alex 1-0 but the manner of the performance will put many on notice.
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Indeed, the key phase came in the minute before half-time and was a model in ruthless efficiency. Gemma Frazer was shown a green card and she had not even reached the sin-bin chair before Hannah Matthews had picked out Sarah Torrans for a sweet finish.
Within 30 seconds, Ali Meeke popped in another, making it 3-1 at half-time and fully punishing Frazer's indiscretions.
Further goals from Sarah Evans and Torrans in the second half stretched the lead further. Along with Pegs, they look set to be contesting the title race in the new year with chasers UCD losing ground.
They did welcome back Lena Tice after successful spells in the short-form New Zealand and Australia Hockey League, and she played her part in putting the students 1-0 up against Railway Union, setting Michelle Carey on track.
But Tice's goal-line heroics were not quite enough to see out the tie as she blocked one brilliantly from Katie Fearon only for Amy Elliott to rebound and shoot onto the World Cup silver medallist's body.
Hannah de Burgh Whyte potted the stroke for 1-1 with eight minutes to go.
On the men's side, Pembroke produced yet another remarkable comeback, fighting back from 3-0 down to beat YMCA 5-3. Grant Glutz's pair of drag-flicks had YM dreaming of a first ever EYHL win but that capitulated as they conceded four times in the last 16 minutes.
It was the only game to be played from the original schedule for week eight of the competition due to the Irish team's World Cup preparations.
The national team will play their final warm-up game against the Netherlands this evening at 5.45pm (Irish time) in Amstelveen ahead of their November 30 opener against Australia in India.