There was to be no soft-landing for Portrane on their return to the top tier in Leinster after 21 years as title contenders UCD ran up a 7-1 on the Donabate peninsula.
The students notched three first-half goals to set the tone and were 4-0 up before Imran Khan got one back with a nice finish before UCD pulled further away.
In the words of The Inspiral Carpets… No one said it was gonna be easy!!!
— Portrane Hockey (@PortraneHockey) September 22, 2018
For Rudi Wortmann’s side, there were debut goals for Peter Lynch and Ewan Ramsay as well as a first for Henry Spillane.
Railway Union got an idea of the challenge ahead as they drew their first match since relegation, coming back twice to tie 2-2 with Avoca.
The Blackrock side took the lead through a drag flick in the first 10 minutes from Eli Bigwood, a New Zealander who provides a powerful, if erratic presence for Mark Cullen’s side.It stayed like that until halftime. Railway equalised with 20 minutes remaining from a penalty stroke converted by Kenny Carroll after a shot was blocked by a body on the line.
Avoca took the lead again from a pitch length passing move finished with a tap-in by Evan Rankin. Andy Colton equalised from Railway from a drag flick with 10 minutes to go.
Railway controlled most of the possession but were unable to create many clear cut chances as both sides settled for a point.
David McClure made an instant impact for Kilkenny on his return after a year away white-water rafting abroad. He scored twice in the cats 4-3 win over Dublin North for whom Liam Metcalfe nabbed a double, too.
Rathgar also got off to a winning start with a 3-1 win against Dublin University with Stuart Malcolm scoring against his former club with Stephen Thompson and Andy Malcolm also scoring. Trinity’s reply came from Eric Prehn from Tom Cole’s assist.
Corinthian, meanwhile, pulled clear of Clontarf with Jonathan Roberts’ double under-pinning a 3-0 win at the bullring.
Leinster Men’s Division One: Portrane 1 (I Khan) UCD 7 (A Tutty 2, D Nolan, H Spillane, P Lynch, E Ramsay, J Guilfoyle); Dublin North 3 (L Metcalfe 2, J Dunne) Kilkenny 4 (D McClure 2, H McDonnell, E Dore); Clontarf 0 Corinthian 3 (J Roberts 2, G Dagg); Dublin University 1 (E Prehn) Rathgar 3 (S Malcolm, S Thompson, A Malcolm); Railway Union 2 (K Carroll, A Colton) Avoca 2 (E Bigwood, E Rankin)