TWO goals in as many minutes from St Pat’s duo Michelle Somers and Julie Hanman helped their side claim a 3-1 women’s Premier League Hockey opening round win over hosts Confederates on Saturday.
Pat’s entered the opening round match with high hopes thanks to an encouraging off-season of training, and their efforts were rewarded against a quality Feds outfit.
Somers and Hanman’s second half goals swung the momentum in the Saints’ favour and the blue and whites never let it go.
Pat’s coach Jaden Ekert was happy with the way his side worked their way into the match following a slow start.
“It’s a great way to start the season. In a way we had to start from scratch playing on the Orange turf, where the ball bounces around, but the girls handled it well,” he said.
“You can see that the fitness work we were doing helped us out a lot. We had them under pressure for probably 60 minutes of the game. Once the girls got themselves into the game they looked very strong.”
Both teams battled for the upper hand in the opening stages of the clash, before Saints skipper Kristy Ekert opened the scoring in the 25th minute.
Neither team could convert their chances as the Saints’ 1-0 lead stayed intact until well after half-time.
It was 12 minutes after the break when Confederates hit back through Eva Reith-Snare.
Reith-Snare slashed a shot home in the 47th minutes to lock the scores up but the Saints hit back immediately, producing their match-winning blitz just a couple of minutes later.
It was a memorable match for the Saints who had new recruits Geogie McGregor, Ella Davis, Mish Somers, Maddie Boyce, Lily Rae-Campbell and Sarah Watterson all making their first PLH appearances in Saints colours.
“We showed great composure at the back. Lucy Weal and Kiralee Naylor were fantastic,” Ekert said.
“We knew it would be a tough game against Feds but you could see our fitness come through at the end.”
Feds coach Fiona Reith said her side will learn a lot from the match.
“It was very tough, and very physical. St Pat’s deserved the win, they’re an experienced and hard side and that gives us a lot to work on moving forward, the only way is up for us I think,” Reith said.
“We had three debutants who got a taste of Premier League Hockey and how tough it really is, which is a positive.