YMCA and St Brendan’s/Phoenix Park claimed a Leinster double at Belfield, taking home the respective Irish Hockey Challenge titles after hard fought wins over Fermoy and Limerick.
YM’s women continued their incredible run of success in all competitions since inaugurating four years ago, adding a second national title to the one they claimed last year, also against Fermoy in the final.
Last time out it went to penalty strokes but the Y had slightly more to spare this year. They got off to the perfect start, Tara Powderly breaking the deadlock after eight minutes, latching onto a 40 metre ball from Dawn Allison to hit home first time from a tight angle.
And Helen Keane confirmed the title’s place back in Sandymount with 20 minutes to go from the penalty spot after Fiona McCormick had been taken down in the circle.
Fermoy had their moments, pinning YM back for much of the second half, forcing some good saves from Anna Keoghane but they were unable to breach the line and so tasted Challenge final defeat for second successive year.
On the men’s side, Matt Hutton was the St Brendan’s/Phoenix Park hero as the club claimed a first national title since amalgamation following some success in the 70s in the Irish Junior Cup under the Lorraine moniker.
Hutton struck in golden goal extra-time to hand the Dubliners the title. His earlier goal looked to have handed Brendan’s the win but former international warhorse Robbie Ryan scored with an excellent upright reverse to tie the game at 1-1 with just a couple of minutes left on the clock.
ESB Irish Hockey Challenge: YMCA 2 (Tara Powderly, Helen Keane) Fermoy 0
Men’s Irish Hockey Challenge: St Brendan’s/Phoenix Park 2 (Matt Hutton 2) Limerick 1 (Robbie Ryan)
* For more of Deryck Vincent’s photos from the St Brendan’s/Phoenix Park vs Limerick final, click here while Kevin Gallagher’s set can be seen here. Ondine Roche’s photos from YMCA vs Fermoy can be seen here