UCD 1  Cork Harlequins 0

UCD Women’s Hockey side last week won the Irish Senior Cup. The Belifeld girls were facing off against Cork Harlequins, who were seeking to end a 17 year wait for the title. A late goal for Deirde Duke in the final minutes of the game saw UCD clinch the tie to Harlequins heartbreak.

Duke was on the end of a clinical execution alongside teammate Sorcha Clarke who passed it around the single Cork defender to set up a straightforward goal. UCD back Lena Tice was the one who set the move in motion firing a long ball up to the Belfield forwards Duke and Clarke who made the most of the late opportunity. Quin’s looked like they might be the ones to win the game at the death, before got the crucial score.

The students failed to convert a number of penalty corners in the first half. One of them was promptly cleared and passed to Rebecca Barry of Harlequin’s, but her shot was saved by UCD’s Clodagh Cassin.

UCD lined out against the Cork side three weeks ago in the league, where they won in an entertaining and high scoring 4-3 encounter. Both sides were more tentative about finishing off moves and attacks this time with the cup at stake. The pace of the game however was end to end, with both sides throwing themselves at each other in a very open first half.

Harlequins’ Olivia Roycroft nearly set up an opening goal, she slipped the ball through to a Quin’s forward who controlled the ball well and found herself one on one with UCD stopped Cassin. But the powerful shot was fired well over the bar, a hugely missed opportunity.

The second half was tamed and more rigid from both sides, with less surging attacks or pace. The intensity and passion was clear to see though as both sides were very physical in the breakdown and tackles. The Cork defence was increasingly solid and it looked like UCD’s slick play wouldn’t be able to find a way through the Quin’s defensive line, who routinely blocked and knocked back maybe forward attempts to move the ball into a potential shot on goal. UCD nearly conceded at one point, when a Harlequins’ player took a shot on goal and UCD keeper Cassin failed to react to block it. Luckily for the Belfield unit the shot bounced off the post and didn’t nestle in the corner, but it did race across the UCD goal line before eventually being mopped up.

The winning goal came from a long ball up forward, controlled by UCD’s Deirde Duke, who rather than taking on the last defender slotted the ball sideways to lay up her teammate Clarke. Clarke had a straightforward finish and didn’t balk under the pressure to fire the ball past the keeper and win the game for UCD. The Irish Senior Cup is the premier knockout competition in Ladies’ hockey for the best clubs in Ireland. UCD previously won Irish Senior Cup titles in 1951, 2009, 2012 and 2014.  It is the fourth time the UCD women’s side have now won the title since 2009.

UCD Starting XI

  1. Cassin
  2. Twomey
  3. Russell
  4. Ewart
  5. Patton
  6. Russell
  7. Patton
  8. Pinder
  9. Tice
  10. Mullan
  11. D. Duke

    Conor Lynott Sports Editor