CATHOLIC INSTITUTE’S women laid down an early marker by thrashing Cork Church of Ireland 5-0 at Garryduff on Saturday, the opening day of the season in Munster.
Irish international skipper Eimear Cregan collected a hat-trick as her Ireland U16 counterpart Roisin Upton starred in midfield against a C of I side very much in transition under new coach David Egner.
Marese Mannion scored on her debut following her move from Greenfields, while youth Olympian Rebecca Barry also got on the scoresheet.
A new-look Cork Harlequins side had little difficulty cruising past a hapless UL outfit, winning 12-0 on home turf with Cliodhna Sargent, Leanne Mullins and Orlagh Cotter all claiming doubles as the champions began life without the retired Rachael Kohler and Karen Bateman.
UCC’s title hopes were dealt an early blow as Jane O’Higgins gave Bandon a parting gift with the equaliser in a 1-1 stalemate at the Mardyke.
Ali O’Regan put College in front but O’Higgins, whose academic exploits are set to take her to Galway, converted a contentious short corner rebound to give the ever-improving west Cork girls a share of the spoils.
Belvedere were given a rude awakening on their return to the top flight, as they lost 4-1 to Ashton.
Jess Kelleher marked her return from UL with a goal and captain Caroline McCarthy added another as Ashton established an early two-goal lead.
Belvedere felt aggrieved at having two penalty stroke appeals turned down and eventually found a consolation from Alyson Moore, but Karen Stokes and Emma Harrington ensured Ashton remained out of sight.
The men’s league began quietly with routine wins for Cork C of I and Cork Harlequins over their clubs’ second teams. New C of I captain John Jermyn hit a hat-trick in their 6-1 win, while Rob Hobbs and the returning Philip McLaughlin both grabbed doubles in Quins’ 6-0 victory. Bandon’s clash with Catholic Institute was postponed due to a bereavement.
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