Mixed fortunes for Ulster teams in play-offs

James Corry equalised for Instonians against UCD
James Corry equalised for Instonians against UCD

There were mixed fortunes for Ulster sides Instonians and Belfast Harlequins in the Irish Hockey Provincial play-offs on Sunday.

Instonians came from a goal down to beat UCD 3-1 to gain promotion to the All Ireland League.

Belfast Harlequins were beaten in the women's decider, 2-0 by Loreto.

Harlequins will have another chance next weekend when they face UCC in a one-game promotion/relegation play-off for the last place in the top tier.

Instonians made all the early running but found themselves a goal behind early in the second half when Jeremy Duncan fired home from UCD's first attack of note.

But James Corry's response was immediate to tie things up, before William Robinson's corner strike and a John Watson tap-in broke the resolve of the students.

It means Instonians replace Annadale in the All Ireland League next season and join fellow Ulster sides Lisnagarvey and Banbridge while UCD have a second bite of the cherry next week when they take on Cookstown in the promotion/relegation playoff.

That's the route Belfast Harlequins will have to take if they want to join Pegasus, Ulster Elks and Ards in the top flight of Irish Hockey after they succumbed to Loreto 2-0.

The Leinster champions boast a number of Irish internationals and it was one of them, Ali Meeke, who opened the scoring in the 43rd minute with a deft volley.

Kate Crotty eased any nerves with the second goal to see off the challenge of Harlequins who acquitted themselves well with Jenna Watt and Lucy Geddes to the fore and they will fancy their chances of promotion when they take on UCC next weekend.

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