Catholic Institute 2-2 Monkstown
League leaders Catholic institute had to perform a second half comeback, against an impressive Monkstown in Limerick. Goals from Sophie Moore and Rebecca Carthy looked to be enough for a fourth Monkstown win of the season, but quick-fire goals from Leah Clery and Ciara Moloney pushed Institute onto 20-points after nine rounds of action.
The Dublin side led early in the second half and looked certain to inflict just a second defeat of the season on their hosts. Their display was built on a strong work ethic and an organised defensive structure, key to that was the outstanding Orla Young-Hughes.
But, when the need was greatest, Institute found near their best, in a largely sub-par display. They were led by Naomi Carroll, who was influential, though Roisin Upton’s absence was perhaps most notable.
After a scrappy opening 10 minutes or so, Monkstown opened the scoring. Chloe Watkins, who was Player of the Match, dribbled hard at the home defence and her cross was flicked to the net by the diving Sophie Moore.
At the other end, young goalkeeper Martha Duignan was comfortable when stopping a brace of efforts from Naomi Carroll. Her first was a cross that could have been diverted, the second, was an under-strength attempt from the first penalty corner of the contest. Monkstown, who’d the second poorest defence in the opening eight games of the season, was comfortable keeping the Limerick side at bay in the first half.
They quickly set about doubling their lead. As with so much of their good attacking play on the day, it was 200-cap midfielder Watkins who was at the heart of it. Natasha Toomey was set clear by Watkins, her early shot looked by certain to cross the line but Carthy made sure by tapping home from two-yards out.
The reply didn’t come until Watkins received a green card. Institute took this advantage through Clery, almost immediately. Captain Eimear Ryan delivered from just outside the circle, and with the aid of a couple of deflections, the ball found Clery who scrambled beyond Duignan. Suddenly, extending their unbeaten run to eight games, appeared possible again.
An equaliser came and it was from a penalty corner, with the telling touch coming – three goals in one quarter and the game level, it was now all to play for in the final period.
This game came to a frantic conclusion with Roisin Begley and Watkins having a chance at either end, with both just inches away from connecting with a pass and finding what would have been the match-winner. Neither side could find the winner and had to settle for draw.
In the end, there was some frustration for Catholic Institute at two points dropped, knowing that Loreto and UCD will be looking to overhaul them at the top of the league in the second half of the season.
While Simon Lowry’s youthful side will be disappointed to led a two-goal lead slip, they were delighted to take a point away to league leaders, who’ve conceded just nine times in as many outings
Elsewhere in the EYHL Womens’ Division One, UCD were able to get closer to the summit, winning 2-1 at home to Peagusus in Belfield. A goal in either half, from Michelle Carey and Leah O’Shea helped them move to within two points of Catholic Institute – a side who they’ll host later in the season.
Ards against Old Alex and Railway Union’s clash with Belfast Harlequins were postponed due to frozen pitches.
Monkstown 5-0 Cookstown
Midtable Monkstown sealed their second victory of the season, when thrashing winless Cookstown. They led 2-0 at half-time, thanks to efforts from Rory Nichols and Geoff Cole. The same two were on target in a dominant second half, while Jeremy Duncan also put his name on the scoresheet in Rathdown.
League leaders Banbridge’s clash with third-placed Glenanne was postponed.
YMCA 4-0 Instonians
YMCA put four past Instonians in their first game of 2023. Goals from Ed Collins, Ross Henderson, Grant Glutz and Tom Power.
Pembroke Wanderers 1 – 4 Annadale
Goals from S Pinion, M Robson, D Tremlet and W Aston for Annadale to take the win over Pembroke.
Lisnagravey travelled to Dublin to win a close fight against Three Rock Rovers.
TRR 2 (James Walker, Ali Empey) Lisnagarvey 3 (Andrew Williamson 2, Andy Edgar)