The UCD ladies hockey team clinched the Leinster division one league title in dramatic fashion as they leapfrogged rivals Railway Union on the last day of matches. A tense 1-0 win for UCD against Old Alexandra combined with a 2-2 draw for Railway Union against Hermes left the two sides level on 46 points at the top of the standings. UCD superior win record however meant that they were crowned champions.
UCD played first on Saturday as they made the short trip to Milltown for their match against Old Alexandra. Despite knowing that they needed to win to put the pressure on Railway Union, thumb Old Alex frustrated UCD, holding them out until the 41st minute when UCD finally took the all-important lead. It was one of UCD’s consistent performers Nicola Grey who got it as she converted a penalty corner with a sweep shot which snuck passed everybody to breach the Old Alex goalmouth.
Despite having chances to make it two, they were relieved to find it was unnecessary as they closed out the game with that lead intact against and more importantly, a lead in the league standings.
With that game in the books, the future destination of the league title would be decided by the result in Sandymount as Railway hosted 5th placed Hermes. Following a shaky start the home side soon took the initiative, taking the lead through a Zara Delaney goal. It lasted only a short while before Hermes brought the scores back to all-square as Aoife Harte drove into the circle before laying off to Sarah Patton who scored.
Railway were back in the driving seat however before half time as Julia O’Halloran scored off of a Kate Lloyd pass.
Railway were unable to press home their advantage in the second half and again allowed Hermes to equalise late on. This time it was Caitriona McGilp who was on hand as she picked up on a rebound to fire home.
This time, Railway could not find another go ahead goal and as time expired the title which they had one hand on at the beginning of the day hand slipped from their grasp. With both sides finishing on 46 points, UCD’s fifteen wins, as opposed to Railway’s 14, was enough to crown them the victors even though Railway had completed their entire campaign without losing a single league game.
The league title will go alongside the Jacqui Potter Cup which UCD won two weeks ago as the ladies completed a monumental double for the season.