Railway Union win EYHL Champions Trophy

Railway Union win EYHL Champions Trophy

April 29, 2024


The two best teams all season found themselves in the EY Champions Trophy Final in Banbridge on Sunday afternoon. The EYHL winners Loreto and their runners-up Railway Union had been the two best teams by a wide margin in the League all season with the winner of this game getting Ireland’s coveted EHL spot for season 2024-25.

Both teams enjoyed periods of dominance in the opening quarter. The best chance of the quarter for Railway Union fell to Sarah Hawkshaw who did a one two on the edge of the semi-circle with Katie Mullan but Loreto’s Hannah McLoughlin took the ball away as she was about to shoot. Loreto had their best spell of the first quarter in the last few minutes without creating too many clear-cut opportunities. Railway who had kept a clean sheet in their semi-final win over Catholic Institute seemed determined to continue that defensive solidity into the final. Railway Union forced a penalty corner with seconds remaining in the quarter. Roisin Upton fired wide and it was Loreto 0 Railway Union 0 at the end of quarter one.

Railway began quarter two well and forced a penalty corner in the 19th minute. The ball was injected and passed back to the left-hand side, hit across the goal mouth and poked home at the far post by Lily Lloyd but was ruled out.  A long-range effort from outside the semi-circle by Railway Union’s Sarah Hawkshaw came back of Liz Murphy needing just the faintest of touches to give them the lead. It was cleared by a Loreto defender and the score remained honours even. Railway had to weather a minor pressure storm themselves but going up to half-time it seemed like the deadlock would remain at least until the break. And so both sides went in at the break scoreless.

Loreto’s first chance of the third quarter came from a penalty corner in the 44th minute. After the ball was injected Caitlin Sherin found herself in space but her shot was blocked. Play was held up for a while following a head injury sustained by Loreto captain Mia Jennings who went off the field. She returned to action in the closing minutes.   Railway Union won a penalty corner in the 49th minute. Roisin Upton’s shot was blocked, and another one was awarded. This time it fell for Orla Patton whose shot was blocked and eventually cleared. Railway Union finished the quarter strongly almost encamped in the Loreto half. A free hit out for Loreto saw the quarter time hooter sound.

As the fourth quarter began Railway Union keeper Emma Buckley had to be alert to deny Yasmin Pratt of Loreto who had managed to lose her marker and was through one on one with the goal almost at her mercy. Emma Buckley was put to the test with two short corners in rapid succession, but they too went the way of all the others up to this point and were fruitless for the team who had been awarded them. Railway Union forced a succession of penalty corners around the hour mark but as with the others nothing significant emerged from them. A further effort struck by Roisin Upton was saved by Loreto keeper Liz Murphy’s right leg. Loreto then won a penalty corner up the other end in the 66th minute and it fell to Hannah Matthews who shot wide. Loreto finished the game strongly.

One penalty corner in the final minute fell to Hannah Matthews she passed to McLoughlin who in turn passed to Rachel Kelly whose effort was blocked. In the closing seconds Railway Union broke from deep Roisin Upton launched an aerial and  Niamh Carey broke into the Loreto semi-circle and was upended. In what proved to be the final act of the game Roisin Upton scored with the last hit of the match and the ball went in despite Liz Murphy getting a stick to it and it soared into the roof of the net just beyond the crossbar. Railway Union win 1-0. Railway Union captain Emma Smith was voted Player of the Tournament and goalkeeper Emma Buckley, who kept two clean sheets in two games won Goalkeeper of the Tournament.

RAILWAY UNION; Emma Buckley; Sarah Patton; Niamh Carey; Michelle Carey; Lisa Mc Carthy; Aebfhinn Burke: Emma Smith (C): Katie Mullan: Roisín Upton: Sarah Hawkshaw: Niamh Shaw SUBS USED: Lily Lloyd; Orla Fox; Orla Patton; Kate Dillon; Kate Fearon

LORETO: Liz  Murphy; Lisa Mulcahy:  Síofra O’Brien: Mia Jennings (C): Caitlin Sherin: Yasmin Pratt: Caoimhe Perdue: Christina Hamill: Hannah Matthews: Hannah McLoughlin: Rachel Kelly; SUBS USED: Ella Pasley; Aisling Murray; Grace McLoughlin; Katie Dunne; Sarah Torrans

Source Hockey Ireland


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