Rathgar struck twice late on to earn the spoils from the closest run tie of men’s Leinster Division One’s opening round against Dublin University.
Two goals in the last 10 minutes saw them prevail 4-2 to give them a strong start to the campaign. Gar took an early lead when they won the ball high up the pitch following a sustained period of pressure and put Davìd Meade through on goal to make it 1-0.
Trinity equalised on the stroke of half time via Daniel O’Donovan having gotten in behind Rathgar’s press to score a well-worked deflection at the front post.
The visitors took the lead again early in the second half after the ball was worked to Stuart Cinnamond inside the circle who played an excellent ball to Mark Collins to deflect in at the back post.
The lead didn’t last long as Trinity won a penalty corner shortly after from Liam Bean. Although the corner was mistrapped, Trinity worked the ball back in to the circle to deflect over Matt Breton in the Rathgar goal.
It left the game in the balance with ten minutes to go in the final quarter. Rathgar got in front for a third time after good work from Andy Malcolm who played the ball back to Tom Kemsley to score on his debut.
The game opened up as Trinity pushed for an equaliser; however, it was Rathgar who got the next goal following excellent work by Alan White who beat a couple of defenders before pulling back to Malcolm to seal the win.
Kilkenny got the best of Bray – up from Division Two this year – on a 3-1 scoreline in a well contested tie in cats’ country. The first quarter saw a rapid exchange of penalty corners which were all defended before Kilkenny went in front in the second quarter, Howard McDonnell netting from a “shove-flick”.
They got a quick second thereafter following a turnover high up the pitch, Henry Huston with a smart touch for the goal. The third was added before the big break, Andrew Atkinson on the mark.
In the second half, Bray came out a bit more assertive and the game was played closer to the Kilkenny goal than theirs, winning a few corners, hitting the post with one that went back to the injector. They dedervedly got rewarded with a Daniel Plunkett drag-flick.
At Mount Temple, two first quarter goals in quick succession from Alan O’Malley and Kevin Mullins – both set up by Scott Beattie – set the tone for the game as Clontarf beat Weston 3-0.
Railway Union got a goal in each half to beat Portrane 2-0 with Michael Fulham scoring a penalty corner goal before the break while Michale MacKenzie created some breathing room when he got in along the baseline and flicked home.
MacKenzie was a key player throughout along with Chris Reilly and Richie Forrest.
Avoca pulled away in the last quarter to record a 7-1 success against Dublin North as their newcomers accounted for five of their goals.
Ben Schutte – following his summer move from Pembroke – made it 1-0 eight minutes in while Cian Funge made it 2-0 on the half-hour.
Jim Dunne got one back before half-time and the game remained in the mix despite Richard Couse’s first goal in the second half, 3-1.
But another Couse goal and two from Uruguayan new arrival Diego Laborde stretched out the advantage with Jonathan Elmes closing out the result.
In Munster Division One, Cork C of I made a big major opening statement in their bid to bounce back from relegation as they ran up a comprehensive 6-2 win over Harlequins, the reigning provincial champions.
Mark Gallagher gave them the early impetus before John Jermyn scored from a penalty corner before the end of the first quarter. A brilliant Gallagher run ended up with Eoin Finnegan scoring on debut and Jermyn added another for C of I to build a 4-0 lead.
Quins did fight back with Richie Gash and Andrew Dale halving the gap but any chance of a famous comeback was warded off by Jermyn’s hat trick goal and Alex Deane added a sixth for good measure.
The manner of the result suggests the Garryduff side will be the side to catch in the domestic competition yet again after three seasons in the national EYHL.
Bandon were the other club to make a big impression on the first day of the league campaign. Colin Kingston and Karl Smyth both fired doubles while Calum Crowley – on his return to club action – was also on the makr in a resounding 9-1 win over last season’s surprise package, Waterford.
Ashton also got off to a winning start courtesy of a 3-1 win over Catholic Institute on their brand new turf in Ballintemple.
Men’s Leinster Division 1: Clontarf 3 (A O’Malley, D Keuter, K Mullins) Weston 0; Dublin North 1 (J Dunne) Avoca 7 (R Couse 2, D Laborde 2, B Schutte, C Funge, J Elmes); Dublin University 2 (D O’Donovan, L Bean) Rathgar 4 (D Meade, M Collins, T Kemsley, A Malcolm); Kilkenny 3 (A Atkinson, H Huston, H McDonnell) Bray 1 (D Plunkett); Railway Union 2 (M Fulham, M McKenzie) Portrane 0
Munster Division 1: Ashton 3 (C Casey, M Falvey, E Stothers) Catholic Institute 1 (S McKechnie); Bandon 9 (C Kingston 2, K Smyth 2, C Crowley, D Smith, E Hamilton, R Smyth, F O’Leary) Waterford 1 (I Johnson); Cork Harlequins 2 (R Gash, A Dale) Cork C of I 6 (J Jermyn 3, E Finnegan, M Gallagher, A Deane)