Pembroke 1 – Muckross 0
Aisling Naughton’s spectacular second minute goal was enough to get Pembroke the 1-0 win against Muckross they needed win the women’s EY Hockey League for the first time.
Earlier in the day, Catholic Institute beat Belfast Harlequins 2-1 at Deramore Park to take the league down to the last fixture to determine the destination of the title.
It meant Pembroke had to get a victory against a side fighting for their lives to try and escape relegation.
And the Serpentine Avenue hosts got off to a dream start when Naughton dove full length at the left post to turn in Ellen Curran’s excellent ball.
But any thoughts of an easy run to the trophy were dispelled as some over-eagerness and gutsy defence from Muckross meant the game was in the balance all the way through to the final whistle.
“It’s just phenomenal to be able to finish it off like this, at home, in front of our crowd; absolutely buzzing,” Naughton said afterwards with the club landing the title for the first time having never breached the top four before in the EYHL.
“We were delighted to get that early goal; we had plenty of chances and Muckross made it really difficult for ourselves. But we did have too many chances and we really do need to make sure of it if we are here again! But one’s enough!”
For Muckross, it meant they were relegated with Belfast Harlequins despite their defeat. For the leading sides Pembroke are bound for Europe with Catholic Institute have a direct pass to the EY Champions Trophy semi-final.
Their win was built around goals from Roisin Upton and Leah Clery but they were also left with jangled nerves as Katie Larmour getting one back for Quins.
Elsewhere, Pegasus, Loreto, Old Alex and UCD ended up in the Champions Trophy quarter-final places with Railway Union missing out.
Goalscorer Aisling Naughton with Emily Beatty as they celebrate Pembroke’s famous win