Belfast High and Irish Under-18 international Jessica McMaster wrapped up the first points of the new EY Hockey League for the Ulster Elks in Saturday’s 3-1 win against Dublin outfit Pembroke Wanderers.
The eagerly anticipated and hotly-debated All-Ireland league finally got under way but it was the visitors to Jordanstown who started the better getting the only goal of the opening quarter.
They scored from a well-worked penalty corner when the students were caught on a counter attack seconds after they felt they should’ve won a penalty themselves.
The Elks pressured the Pembroke goal in the second quarter however a solitary attempt from Kirstie Lammey was all they could show for their superior possession and the Dubliners finished the half one goal to the good.
The home side regrouped at the break and fairly stepped up a gear, forcing further penalty corners of their own equalising from one soon after the restart when Shirley McCay’s straight strike rifled the back boards.
Minutes later it was McCay who struck again doubling her own personal goal tally and catapulting the Elks into the lead.
This time the most capped senior Irish international adeptly finished on the reverse after another penalty corner broke down.
The end of that third quarter and into the fourth was a tense and scrappy period with both teams having players sent to the sin bin.
However, with 12 minutes remaining Megan Frazer showed some invention taking a quick free punching through the Pembroke defence and putting in a telling cross into the goalmouth where McMaster slid in to beat defender and goalkeeper securing all three home points for the Ulster Elks.
“It was good to get off to a winning start and we want to make Jordanstown a hard place to come to for visiting sides,” said Elks coach Ricky Lee.
“I thought the girls were clinical in front of goal after going behind and we are happy to have got off to a winning start.”
This weekend the Elks, sponsored by Murphy O’Rawe solicitors, make the arduous journey south to play Cork Harlequins.