UCD Women’s Hockey team couldn’t overcome a resilient Railway Union side in Park Avenue, writes Daniel Keenan.Railway Union Hockey 2 – 1 UCD

After taking an early lead, UCD eventually slumped to a 2-1 defeat against title rivals Railway, who handed the Students their first defeat of the season.

UCD began the day unbeaten and top of the table, with a game in hand over their fellow Southsiders, who were two points behind them and also undefeated. Due to international commitments, both teams had to do without key players; UCD were left missing Chloe Watkins, while Railway had to do without Alex Speers, Emma Smyth and Nikki Evans. Both Smyth and Watkins were involved in the Ireland team that lost to Belgium in the second build up game to the Investec Triangular series in South Africa.

The game started off perfectly for UCD, who grabbed the lead in the first four minutes of the match, with Jeamie Deacon scoring for the visitors after good build-up play. UCD looked comfortable for the rest of the half, passing well and keeping Railway to minimal scoring opportunities.

Late in the first half, Railway won a corner, which was fired across ‘The D’ and eventually slotted home by Zara Delany. The two teams went in level at half time after a conservative first half.

It was Railway who controlled the second half, with Jean McDonnell and Julia O’Halloran proving particularly impressive. They made their dominance count, grabbing a second goal through Isobel Joyce.

Railway were happy to see the game out from there, by playing the possession game and letting the clock tick down. UCD couldn’t create much with what little possession they saw near the end of the game, and the match eventually petered out for a 2-1 win to the home side. Railway’s win sees them leapfrog UCD at the top of the table, although UCD still have a game in hand.

UCD 1st XI team captain, Laura Wilson, was happy with the performance, even if the result didn’t go their way: “We just didn’t take our chances in the game,” says Wilson, “We played well, but just couldn’t finish it.

“Performance wise, it wasn’t far off how we have been playing. But obviously we didn’t get the result, which is what matters. We’re still performing well as a team. It’s only our first match back since before exams in December, so we were out of match practice.”

Meanwhile, UCD’s Men’s team bounced back from their Mills Cup quarter final loss to Three Rock by drawing with YMCA. The draw sees the Students move above Fingal, into eighth place.

Having lost the Neville Cup final in December, and a respectable final position the only realistic goal for the league, the Mills Cup was UCD’s only chance for silverware this season, but after a 1-1 draw in Belfield, they lost 3-1 on penalties to Three Rock.