Irish Hockey League: Elks among Ulster winners on opening day

By Nigel RinglandBBC Sport NI
Megan Frazer of the Ulster Elks

Ulster Elks began the new season-long Irish Hockey League with a 3-1 win over Pembroke Wanderers.

Shirley McCay scored twice from penalty corners with Jessica McMaster getting the third goal.

Ards came from 3-0 down to draw with Pegasus while there were opening day wins for Hermes, Railway Union and UCC.

In the Men's IHL Banbridge started out with a 3-1 win over Annadale and Lisnagarvey held on to beat Pembroke Wanderers 3-2.

Cookstown lost 4-1 away at Cork C of I while league favourites Monkstown and Three Rock Rovers also recorded victories.

In the women's match at Jordanstown, the Elks went behind to their visitors from Dublin with the final play of the first quarter when Pembroke captain Sarah Clarke opened the scoring from a penalty corner.

That was the score at half-time but after the interval the home side began to assert their dominance and turned possession into goals.

It was McCay, Ireland's most capped international, who equalised from a penalty corner after 33 minutes and shortly afterwards she was on target again with a stylish finish on the reverse stick.

Irish captain Megan Frazer set up the decisive third goal with 12 minutes remaining, stealing the ball and driving hard to the bye-line before crossing for under-18 international Jessica McMaster to score.

'Different start to season'

"We are very pleased to get the three points, there was a real buzz about the first game against a side we're not used to playing," said Frazer.

"It felt like a different start to the season and the new league can only benefit the sport throughout the country."

Pegasus looked in charge of their Ulster derby against Ards as they raced into a 3-0 lead after only 33 minutes thanks to goals from Vanessa Surgenor, Stephanie Thompson and Suzanne Ferris.

Ards captain Caroline Adams pulled her side back into the game with a goal from a penalty corner just before the end of the third period and two late strikes from Sara Alexander meant a point each.

In the men's IHL, Banbridge started their campaign with a 3-1 derby win over Annadale.

Stephen Dowds opened the scoring for the home side but Peter McKibben quickly equalized.

It wasn't until the second half that Banbridge went ahead again with Dowds getting his second of the game and they sealed the points when Hugh McShane knocked in a rebound.

Lisnagarvey were the other Ulster winners as they held on to beat Pembroke Wanderers 3-2. Timmy Cockram, James Lorimer and debutant Neil Glassey got the goals for Garvey.

Former Irish international John Jermyn scored a hat-trick as Cork C of I beat Cookstown 4-1.

Men's EY Hockey League
Cork C of I4-1Cookstown
Three Rock Rovers 4-1Glenanne
Pembroke 2-3Lisnagarvey
Railway Union 1-2Monkstown
Women's EY Hockey League
Railway Union2-0Cork Harlequins
Ulster Elks 3-1Pembroke