Insta denied debut win as Pembroke make big statement

Women’s EYHL – day one round-up

Catholic Institute 3 (N Carroll 2, R Begley) Muckross 3 (K Baker, A O’Flanagan, N Keegan)

Muckross denied Catholic Institute a winning start to life in the women’s EYHL in the closing stages as the Dublin 4 side’s newcomers made their mark.

Insta led 2-0 early on courtesy of goals from Naomi Carroll and Roisin Begley in the first quarter and they held that advantage through to half-time. Muckross came storming back to make it level via Kim Baker and Anna O’Flanagan but Carroll’s second goal of the tie early into the final quarter put the Limerick side back in front.

Nikki Keegan, however, made it a trio of Muckross players to score on their league debuts for the club, all three joining the club during the summer.

Pembroke 3 (O Macken, E Horan, A Naughton) Loreto 2 (N Small, C Hamill)

Aisling Naughton scored a 69th minute winner for a hugely significant win for Pembroke over Loreto at Serpentine Avenue, nicking the result 3-2 in a highly entertaining contest.

They took the lead just before half-time when skipper Orla Macken cracked home a penalty corner in the 31st minute with a direct hit off the top. Niamh Small equalised at the start of the third quarter as the plat went end to end with chances a plenty at both ends.

Eanna Horan restored the Pembroke advantage with 12 minutes to go but it looked like the game was heading to a draw when Christina Hamill levelled from play.

Naughton, though, provided the critical touch with a deflection with time running out to earn the 3-2 result.

Cork Harlequins 1 (N Barry) UCD 1 (N Carey)

Cork Harlequins and UCD earned a share of the spoils at Farmers’ Cross as an early exchange of goals in the first seven minutes proved the only goals of the day. UCD were without Olympic qualifying star Lena Tice along with Orla Patton and Abbie Russell but they did get off the perfect start when Sarah Young played a lovely pass from the baseline to Niamh Carey who deflected home.

Nikki Barry equalised soon after, cleaning up a penalty corner rebound after Clodagh Cassin’s initial save. From there, UCD had the edge in terms of general play with the Carey twins Niamh and Michelle causing havoc while Hannah McLoughlin was a constant presence but Sarah Murphy and Emma Barber offered no free chances.

Indeed, Quins did well to keep out a number of corner chances while they did look dangerous on the break in the second half but no further goals accrued.

Old Alexandra 2 (R Evans, E Hinkson) Belfast Harlequins 0

Old Alex got their season up and running with a strong 2-0 win over Belfast Harlequins with a goal in each half with Rebecca Evans and Erika Hinkson doing the damage.

The Milltown side made the best of the first half, winning a couple of corners before going ahead in the 31st minute when Evans fired home on her reverse for 1-0. Sarah Robinson and Emma Russell combined well to create danger in the second half before Quins fought back and were only denied an equaliser by the width of a post. Serena Barr was a key figure, creating plenty of chances through the middle – she was in action after being part of the Olympic qualifiers panel last weekend but her twin sister Bethany was rested.

The crucial second goal, however, came with seven minutes to go when Russell produced an incredible cross for Erika Hinkson who slid in to slot home the ball. A Quins corner on the final whistle was repelled by Robinson to preserve the clean sheet.

Railway Union 0 Pegasus 1 (L McKee)

Lucy McKee’s expertly taken goal in the 42nd minute was all that separated Pegasus and Railway Union in a keenly contested battle at Park Avenue, handing the reigning national champions a key result to get up and running.

The Ulster side had the better of the opening stages as Alex Speers’ effort was denied by her former international team mate Emma Smyth. Railway came more into it with Sophia Cole and Lily Lloyd to the fore. Pegs did win a stroke when Niamh McIvor was fouled in the circle but Riona Norton did well to deny Ruth Maguire from the spot.

That left it 0-0 at half-time but McKee soon found the go-ahead goal, wriggling out of a couple of tackles with some neat stick skills before whipping home her shot from mid-circle. While they had much of the play, they were susceptible to counters and Megan Todd needed to be off her line quickly to prevent Zara Delany and Cliona McCullough from equalising. They were key stops and Pegasus held on for the three points.

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