— Irish Hockey (@irishhockey) April 8, 2017
UCD claimed the women’s EY Hockey League in dramatic fashion as Lena Tice struck two penalty corners to inflict a first defeat of the league season on Hermes-Monkstown, leap-frogging their Dublin rivals on the final day of the campaign.
The result earns them a European spot and was their second title in six days, adding to the Irish Senior Cup won at Belfield with a 1-0 win over Cork Harlequins.
The students did it the hard way, coming from 1-0 down in the third quarter to nick the victory. Former UCD player Nikki Evans had slotted an opening goal from close range in the third quarter to put Hermes-Monkstown in this title decider.
The hosts only needed a draw but found the game was right back in the mix when Tice equalised almost immediately, setting up a thrilling final quarter. There, Tice again stepped up from a cleverly worked corner, touched into the circle for her to powerfully slap home.
That came with 12 minutes to go and UCD held on in the face of a late barrage to secure the three points and the title success. It marks them as number one seeds for the EY Champions Trophy playoffs and they will play fourth seed Loreto in the semi-final on April 29.
Hermes-Monkstown, meanwhile, will face Cork Harlequins in their semi-final as they bid to retain that national title.
Elsewhere, Pembroke got the results they needed to retain their place in the national league. They beat Ulster Elks 2-0 with first half goals from Rachel Scott – a penalty stroke – and Erica Markey to record their second win in their last three outings.
They still needed Belfast Harlequins to lose to Loreto to allow them to stay out of the relegation playoff position on goal difference. The Ulster side duly fell 5-1 to Loreto with Irish underage international Sarah Torrans scoring all five for the Beaufort outfit and Pembroke celebrated safety.
The remaining ties had little on the line with Pegasus beating Ards 2-0 to finish sixth while Railway Union edged out Cork Harlequins 1-0 to end fifth.
Women’s EY Hockey League: Hermes-Monkstown 1 (N Evans) UCD 2 (L Tice 2); Ards 0 Pegasus 2 (R McMillan, H Craig); Belfast Harlequins 1 (G Frazer) Loreto 5 (S Torrans 5); Pembroke 2 (R Scott, E Markey) Ulster Elks 0; Railway Union 1 (K Orr) Cork Harlequins 0