MISMATCHES were the order of the opening day of the hockey season in Munster, with the province’s heavy hitters all recording big wins on Saturday.
Cork Harlequins’ men ran out comfortable 5-0 winners over Bandon without ever getting out of third gear, leaving the west Cork side with much to ponder, notably how often they gave away possession cheaply in the middle third.
A Brian Hayes Curtin rebound and Paul Lombard’s penalty stroke had them two up inside 20 minutes, and despite the efforts of Graham Kingston, Ali Smith and Paul O’Leary, Bandon couldn’t engineer a response on the scoreboard.
Quins killed the tie off with quickfire strikes from Paul Murray and Lee d’Alton just after half-time, while Darren Farrell dispatched a neat drag-flick to the bottom corner for the game’s last act.
Elsewhere, Cork C of I had a predictably easy win over Quins B; John Jermyn claimed a hat-trick in a 9-1 annihilation, with Stephen Parker bagging a double and skipper David Hobbs, Andy Daunt, Adam Pritchard and Nick Burns also rattling the backboard. New signing Ross Bateman claimed Quins’ consolation.
Waterford were given a rude awakening to what life in the women’s Division One might be like as they went down 4-0 at C of I. Mel Ryan’s beautiful reverse got them off to a flyer, before new arrival Cathy Kenefick marked her debut with a belter from the top of the circle.
Grace Young and Julie O’Sullivan added corner strikes to put a gloss on the win, in which Sinead Connery and Old Alex recruit Suzanne O’Connor also impressed.
Catholic Institute got their season off to a flyer too, trouncing an out-of-sorts UL 6-0 in the Limerick derby.
Elaine Bromell scored on her first game back since returning from Bray, with Munster U18 duo Naomi Carroll and Rebecca Barry, plus Edel Higgins, Katie Campbell and Rosie Pratt claiming the others.
Audrey O’Flynn was in typically menacing drag-flicking form as the UCC skipper inspired her side to an easy 7-1 defeat of Ashton at the Mardyke.
The Ireland A centre-back rifled home a hat-trick of flicks, with fellow College stalwarts Julia O’Halloran, Eibhlin O’Donoghue and Ali O’Regan chipping in with one each, while there was a debut goal for Kate Murphy. Cliodhna Murphy grabbed one back for Ashton.
In Leinster, Corinthian blitzed Pembroke Wanderers 4-2 to advance to the last four of the Neville Cup.
Recent returnee Lucas Piccioli again inspired the reds against an under-strength and out-of-sorts Pembroke, claiming two with Davy Carson and Glenn Holmes also scoring inside the first half. Justin Sherriff’s double was all the visitors could muster.
Stephen Cole’s sublime golden goal gave Monkstown a 2-1 win over Fingal in extra-time, while YMCA were easy 5-0 winners over Division One new boys Clontarf.
Australian Jacob Webber was on the scoresheet just three days after returning from home, while Cliff Bailey claimed his first goal for the club.
Skerries handed Glenanne a walkover in the other quarter-final, meaning Glens now travel to ‘Town in the last four with Corinthian hosting YM.
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