herald

Wednesday 16 January 2019

Hinkson's touch enough for Alex

Alexandra College 2
Mount Temple 1

Erika Hinkson's 21st-minute deflected goal ultimately proved the winner as last season's Senior Cup finalists got their Premier League campaign off to a winning start in Milltown last Friday.

She touched home a Nicola Gray pile-driver from close range to grab the odd goal in three and get Miles Warren's charges off to the perfect start to their seven-team Premier group.

In just their second year at this grade, though, Mount Temple and coach Rob Abbott were proud of their performance, keeping pace with one of the powerhouses of the sport in the province.

Alex did keep Deirdre Duke and Emily Beatty in reserve -- both U17 internationals were resting following a recent trip to the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore -- but the Clontarf Road school were never likely to be treated as makeweights.

Indeed, Sarah Murray's equaliser was one of the finest strikes to be seen at this level.

She used extreme pace -- which has seen her don an Irish athletics bib in recent years -- to tear onto Nicola Taylor's excellent first-time through ball and slip home, again with her first touch, at the near post, going at full kilter.

It cancelled out Rebecca Evans' opening goal just eight minutes into the season. Hinkson was the creator, using her skills down the left flank to ghost into the circle, laying up for the centre-midfielder.

There was plenty of work still to do but a deft flip of the ball and some tidy three-dimensional touches created precious space to crash home from close range.

Temple and Murray got their levelling goal against the run of play as Alex, with Hinkson raiding constantly down the left while Nicola Gray and Kate Lenehan controlled from the back, were dominant.

The hosts bounced back, earning a trio of penalty corners before the break. Murray's speed off the line denied Gray any time to line up a clean strike on goal on two occasions but, on the other, she hammered goalwards and Hinkson, the corner injector, completed the job.

Temple went inches from pulling even three minutes after the restart when Murray's cross was redirected powerfully toward the bottom left corner by Taylor.

But goalkeeper Emma Mee-Hayes pulled off a wonder save, extending her stick full length to tip the ball around the post and maintain the slender lead.

It would prove their last chance as Alex, with Evans now pulling the strings, began to assert their greater experience.

Lydia Regazzoli's last-ditch defending and Camille Rantz-McDonald's clearance off the line from Louise McPhillips kept it tight while five further Alex penalty corners went unconverted.

None were needed in the final reckoning as Hinkson's touch divided the teams at the start of a busy term of hockey.

Alexandra College: E Mee-Hayes, N Gray, E Hinkson, R Evans, G Mulkerrin, C Maginn, J Mullin, A Ryan, K Lenehan, G Murphy, M O'Donnell, A Gleeson, L McPhillips, J Turley, A Gibbons

Mount Temple: E Dawkins, N Taylor, J Keating, L Regazzoli, L Keating, D McElligott, C Williams, C Rantz-McDonald, S Murray, L Neale, C O'Flaherty, H Manning, Z Ledwith, B O'Neill, R Norton.

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