Mixed fortunes for Ulster Elks against Harlequins and UCD

Ulster Elks' Shirley McCay, seen her in action against Lurgan, was on target against UCD. Photo: Philip McCloy
Ulster Elks' Shirley McCay, seen her in action against Lurgan, was on target against UCD. Photo: Philip McCloy

Last week the Ulster Elks had mixed fortunes as far as the Irish Hockey League (IHL) is concerned.

On Wednesday evening a comprehensive 5-1 win against Belfast Harlequins in the Premier League guaranteed a top-three finish, and, with it, qualification to the proposed full season IHL next year.

In contrast, however, the Jordanstown girls bowed out this year’s IHL competition losing their final pool game 4-2 against University College Dublin on Saturday.

Against Harlequins the students were always in the ascendancy and three first-half goals from Danielle McNally, Shirley McCay and Megan Frazer virtually ended the game as a contest by the break.

In the second half, the Elks extended their lead through Jessica McMaster before ‘Quins pulled one back. However, any thoughts of a comeback were quashed when Laura McAlpine added a fifth to end the game.

UCD were a completely different prospect, however, coming to Jordanstown with no less than nine internationals in their ranks and needing a point to qualify from Pool B to reach the semi-finals.

The first quarter was pretty uneventful as both sides felt their way into the fixture. In the second quarter, the Dublin outfit took a firm grip on the tie and in an eight-minute spell netted twice to go in 2-0 up at the break.

After the interval the Elks reduced the deficit through Shirley McCay who hammered home a penalty corner.

Chloe Mitchell saw an effort saved but UCD immediately countered and their two-goal advantage was restored.

In the final quarter, the visitors netted again to effectively seal all the points, however, Jessica McMaster got free in the circle and her reverse stick strike found the bottom corner to pull one back for the Elks.