Cork Harlequins inflict a rare defeat on UCD
Defending champions beaten on the first day of the Hockey League season
After going through all 18 Hockey League games unbeaten last season, defending champions UCD lost their first outing of the new campaign on Saturday, Cork Harlequins coming from behind at Belfield to take the points.
Similarly, Monkstown, who suffered just one Hockey League loss in the last campaign - to UCD - were beaten in their opening game, this time Harlequins of the Belfast variety the victors, getting the better of the Dublin side at Deramore Park.
No Ulster team finished in the top five last time around, but all three of this year’s qualifiers - Pegasus, Belfast Harlequins and Ards - opened with wins on Saturday, while the only Leinster contenders to avoid defeat were Loreto and Railway Union who played each other, their game ending in a 1-1 draw.
Cork Harlequins fell behind to a Deirdre Duke goal in the first quarter of their game against UCD, but Roisin Upton’s drag flick had them level early in the second quarter before Naomi Carroll got the winner with eight minutes to go.
Monkstown also fell to a late goal having come back from 1-0 down to lead Belfast Harlequins 2-1 at the half-time break, Lily Lloyd and Sadhbh Hoban-Logan getting their scores. But Harlequins levelled through a penalty stroke from summer recruit Zoe Wilson, with Rachel Johnston deflecting home a penalty corner six minutes from time.
Trinity, meanwhile, took a surprise early lead over Pegasus through Rachel O’Brien away to Pegasus in their first ever Hockey League game, but they trailed 4-1 by half-time, with the Belfast side adding two more goals after the break.
And Ards made it three out of three for Ulster clubs in the day’s contests against Leinster sides, Chloe Brown converting a penalty corner with two minutes left on the clock to give them a 2-1 win over Pembroke Wanderers.
Hockey League - Saturday: UCD 1 (D Duke), Cork Harlequins 2 (R Upton, N Carroll); Loreto 1 (N Small), Railway Union 1 (N Carey); Ards 2 (F Brown, C Brown), Pembroke Wanderers 1 (A Naughton); Belfast Harlequins 3 (L Geddes, Z Wilson, R Johnston), Monkstown 2 (L Lloyd, S Hoban-Logan); Pegasus 6 (S Thompson 2, K McKee, H Grieve, A Speers 2), Trinity 1 (R O’Brien).