In the opening round of the men’s Ulster Premier League, there were wins for Portadown, Newry, Queen’s and Mossley.
Matthew Winter scored twice for Portadown in a 4-2 win for the Ports over Belfast Harlequins at Edenvilla Park.
John Taylor’s double strike helped Newry to a narrow 3-2 win over Raphoe to make the long journey home from Donegal more enjoyable. Queen’s, inspired by new signing Scott McCabe, made an impressive start to their campaign beating North Down 5-1 at the Dub where Jacob Hermon hit two of the goals. Paddy Hunter, Finn Harkin and Matthew Warnock were also on target for the students with James Clarke replying late on for the Comber side.
New Mossley coach Ali McNeill, formerly of Pegasus ladies, got her reign off to a great start with a 6-1 win over Antrim at the Glade where Simon Todd, Jordan Barr, Joel Cathcart, Paul Kane, Jordan Robinson and Matthew Anderson got the goals.
In the women’s top flight, Ballymena had an instant reality check on their return to the Premier League after a 12-year absence as they fell to an opening 3-0 defeat to Ballymoney at the Joey Dunlop Centre.
“Welcome to the real world, they were better than us on the day but the players will learn from it,” said Ballymena coach Davy Allen.
“Ballymoney have a lot of experience in their side and former internationals Bridget Cleland and Nikki Parke ran the show along with Ruth Sutherland. We had spells of pressure but couldn’t take our chances and we’ll get better once we get a bit more used to the step up in class. We always knew it was going to be difficult in our first season back in the Premier League but it’s obviously very early days just now.”
Parke got two of the Ballymoney goals with Sutherland adding the third from a trademark penalty corner conversion. The other newly promoted team, Lisnagarvey, fared little better, going down 3-1 to Dungannon at Comber Road. Goals from Leanne Cassells and Jessica Hood saw the Tyrone girls go into the break with a 2-0 lead and Ellie Greenaway added number three midway through the second half before Kerry McIlwaine’s late consolation.
In the other Premier League game, Randalstown and Rainey fought out a 1-1 draw at the Antrim Forum on Friday night. Andrea Hegarty put the Magherafelt side ahead from a 26th minute penalty corner before Alix Kerr salvaged Town a share of the spoils with a late equaliser.
“We were happy to have come away with a point as we had nine players making their debut at this level and none of our schoolgirls were able to play due to a Cup game on Saturday,” said Rainey coach Richie McGaw.
In the Senior Cup, there were wins for Omagh, Portadown and Raphoe, for whom Emma Harpur hit a hat-trick in a 5-0 home victory over CI.
Ulster Premier League:
Raphoe 2 (T Orr) Newry Olympic 3 (J Taylor 2, K McCombe)
Portadown 4 (M Winter 2, N Gilmore, M Bennett) Belfast Harlequins 2 (M Patterson 2)
Mossley 6 (S Todd, J Barr, J Taggart, P Kane, J Robinson, M Anderson) Antrim 1 (D Wilson)
Queen’s 5 (J Herman 2, P Hunter, F Harkin, M Warnock) North Down 1 (J Clarke)
Nigel Cheevers Memorial Tournament:
Saturday: Cookstown 2 (R Millar, S Smyth) Pembroke Wanderers 1 (H Spain); Holcombe 3 Pembroke Wanderers 2
Sunday: Cookstown 0 Holcombe 4.
Ulster Premier League:
Ballymoney 3 (N Parke 2, R Sutherland) Ballymena 0
Lisnagarvey 1 (K McIlwaine) Dungannon 3 (K Cassells, J Hood, E Greenaway)
Randalstown 1 (A Kerr) Rainey 1 (A Hegarty)
Ulster Senior Cup Group A:
Coleraine 1 Omagh 2 (A Buchanan, E Short)
Ulster Senior Cup Group B:
Portadown 3 (L Craig, A Black, C Dunn) Castle 0
Raphoe 5 (E Harpur 3, L Patterson 2) CI 0