Six of the best for O’Flanagan as Hermes-Monkstown begin with a bang

Women’s EY Hockey League – week one
Loreto 0 Cork Harlequins 1 (Naomi Carroll)
Naomi Carroll’s second quarter goal saw the strongly-augmented Cork Harlequins – who gave six debuts – saw Cork Harlequins get off to a winning start to the new season at Beaufort, seeing off promoted Loreto 1-0.

Loreto got off to a quick start with two early chances on goal with Emma Buckley up to the challenge before Quins started pushing forward with Carroll pulling the strings. Louisa Healy denied Cliodhna Sargent’s opening corner effort in the first quarter but their second corner was guided home by Carroll on her first appearance for the Cork club.

Michelle Carey scored twice in Railway's win over Pembroke. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Michelle Carey scored twice in Railway’s win over Pembroke. Pic: Adrian Boehm

They kept up the pressure in the second half before Loreto got a grip back on the tie with Ali Meeke and Lizzie Colvin to the fore in midfield while Sinead McGirr attacked down the left. Yvonne O’Byrne showed her experience to snuff out the danger and Quins held on for the win.

Ulster Elks 2 (Shirley McCay 2) Pegasus 6 (Ruth Maguire 2, Dawn Axon, Suzanne Ferris, Taite Doherty, Alex Speers)
Pegasus gave the new look Ulster Elks plenty to think about in their derby tie at Jordanstown as the reds won out 6-2. The visitors dominated possession initially and, after some good pressing, Taite Doherty broke into the circle and opened the scoring with a superb reverse stick shot. Ruth Maguire scored from a short corner to make it 2-0 after seven minutes before Elks settled thanks to a driving run into the circle and a reverse stick shot by Shirley McCay to score.

Dawn Axon, against the club she left during the summer, extended the Pegasus lead in the third quarter via a quick spin the circle and speculative shot that went through two sets of legs before nestling in the bottom right corner. Suzanne Ferris and Ruth Maguire stretched the lead out to 5-1 in the third quarter before Elks finally exerted sustained pressure and got one back from McCay from a corner. Alex Speers, however, completed the win in the closing period.

UCD 4 (Deirdre Duke, Emma Russell, Sorcha Clarke, Katie Mullan) Ards 0
UCD got off to a flying start in the women’s EYHL with a comprehensive 4-0 win over Ards at Belfield, sharing the goals around. Ards did get off to a strong start, winning a corner that saw Chloe Brown draw a brilliant diving stick save from Clodagh Cassin.

Deirdre Duke broke the deadlock, however, after eight minutes with an upright reverse which took a touch off an Ards defender beating the goalkeeper. UCD were holding plenty of ball with Lena Tice and Sarah Robinson in control and Miles Warren’s side were all but out of sight by half-time. Emma Russell extended the student’s lead, scoring on her debut for the college and, after further sustained pressure, UCD sneaked their third through Sorcha Clarke from close range. UCD kept the pressure on in the third quarter with Sally Campbell and Sarah O’Loughlin working tirelessly as much of the game was played in the Ards defensive end.

Anna O'Flanagan scored a massive six times in Hermes-Monkstown's win. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Anna O’Flanagan scored a massive six times in Hermes-Monkstown’s win. Pic: Adrian Boehm

They reaped the reward as Katie Mullan turned over an Ards midfielder, charged into the circle winning a stroke, which she duly converted. It killed off the tie and UCD had a further goal disallowed when Mullan’s foot denied a Duke strike from counting but it mattered little in the win.

Pembroke 0 Railway Union 3 (Michelle Carey 2, Kate McKenna)
Michelle Carey’s double inspired Railway to a derby day win over Pembroke to get their season off to a winning start. She pounced on a loose ball in the circle to open the scoring in the 4th minute to get her side up and running and her side continued to attack as time wore on but Pembroke defended well for the most part.

Maebh Horan’s goal-line save from a corner in the 40th minute typefied this while Tiffaney Ellis was having an outstanding game with several good saves. But the game was finally put to bed in the closing few minutes when Carey again latched onto a cross to grab her second of the match. In the final minute, Kate McKenna added an extra gloss to the scoreline.

Belfast Harlequins 1 (Claire Weir) Hermes-Monkstown 10 (Anna O’Flanagan 6, N Evans, C Watkins, C McGilp, L Lloyd)
Anna O’Flanagan’s six goal salvo saw Hermes-Monkstown begin life in devastating fashion, showing the name change took little time to get used to. The striker put the visitors to Deramore Park into the lead in the ninth minute before Caitriona McGilp, debutante Lily Lloyd and Chloe Watkins extended the lead in the second quarter to 4-0.

Nikki Evans and O’Flanagan added a couple more before Claire Weir got one back for Quins. But O’Flanagan scored the last four goals of the tie to complete a huge victory.

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