Irish Hockey League: Lorimer hits double as Garvey win opener

James Lorimer struck twice for Ulster side Lisnagarvey in Saturday's victory
James Lorimer struck twice for Ulster side Lisnagarvey in Saturday's victory

Two penalty corner goals by James Lorimer helped Lisnagarvey beat Three Rock Rovers 4-2 as the IHL endured a coronavirus-hit return to action.

YMCA and Monkstown also won while Glenanne and UCD drew 2-2.

The IHL was making its return with last season having been declared null and void in April due to the pandemic.

Three Cork teams refused to travel to Dublin for their women's league games after tighter Covid-19 restrictions came into effect in the city.

The sport at the highest level has been given an elite classification by Sport Ireland and therefore was given the green light to go ahead in Dublin despite the latest restrictios.

Hockey Ireland have yet to make a determination as to whether these games will result in forfeits or if they will be rescheduled.

Dublin based sides either played each other or were able to travel to Ulster.

The men's game between Banbridge and Pembroke was postponed after a Pembroke player tested positive for Covid-19, forcing the club to suspend activities and send some of their players home to self-isolate.

Garvey see off Rovers

On the pitch, Ben Nelson's strike gave Lisnagarvey an early advantage at Comber Road before Ben Johnston's penalty corner levelled matters for Three Rock Rovers.

Nelson restored the home side's lead in the third quarter but once again the visitors bounced back through Peter Blakeney to leave everything to play for heading into the final quarter.

Garvey secured the win with a pair of goals from penalty corners from James Lorimer to record a huge win, even on the first day of the season.

Annadale slumped to defeat as they were beaten 3-0 away to YMCA while Irish international Shane O'Donoghue was on target to secure a 2-2 draw for Glenanne at UCD.

The big winners were Monkstown who hit six against Corinthian without reply.

Harlequins lose despite spirited comeback

In the women's IHL, Belfast Harlequins can count themselves unlucky not to have at least secured a point in a 3-2 defeat by Old Alex.

Led by Irish internationals Bethany Barr and Lizzie Colvin, they dominated periods of the game but failed to convert their chances as the experience of the visitors eventually paid dividends.

Aine Connery scored the opener in the second quarter, the ball hitting both posts on its way to barely crossing the line before Sarah Robinson's successful stroke gave them a 2-0 lead at half-time.

When Ireland's Nikki Evans made it 3-0 just after the restart, finishing off an excellent move, the game looked done and dusted but Harlequins mounted an impressive comeback.

Goals from Natalie Barr and Julie Dennison set up a grandstand finish and they came close on a number of occasions to grabbing the equaliser, and while they came up short, their performance should give them hope for a better season.

Defending champions Pegasus began their new campaign with a 2-0 home win over Pembroke, with Niamh McIvor and Olivia Berry on target.

Elsewhere, Catholic Institute had a 2-0 win over UCD and Railway Union defeated Loreto 2-1.

In IHL 2, Zara Malseed was on target as Ards beat Corinthian 3-0 in Section A while Queen's beat NUIG 3-1 in Section B with Jessica McMaster among the scorers.