All Ulster final as Pembroke and Glens ousted

Men’s Irish Hockey League semi-finals
Glenanne 3 (Shane O’Donoghue, Gary Shaw, Gareth Lennox og) Banbridge 3 (Ross McCandless 2, Dane Ward), Banbridge won 2-0 on penalties

Banbridge went some way to making amends for their 2009 IHL semi-final defeat to Glenanne as they prevailed on penalties after a tight-knit battle ended 3-3.

Bann led three times but each time found themselves pegged back, the third equaliser coming four minutes from time in unfortunate fashion, Graham Shaw’s loose cross just clipping goalkeeper Gareth Lennox’ toe to require extra-time.

Early on, Ross McCandless high flick was annulled by Shane O’Donoghue’s drag scuttling over the line. Bann, without Josh Moffett and Stephen Dowds, were playing at times with just one up front but intent on hitting hard on the counter.

To that end, Colin Dowds was superb, leading the line to win a couple of corners and cause all manner of problems down the channels.

It was a far cry from their Irish Senior Cup semi-finals as Scott McCandless showed the benefits of two extra weeks training and fitness to put in a super performance at the far end.

And the Co Down side were back in front in the 44th minute through Dane Ward, applying the touch to Colin Dowds’ right-wing cross.

Owen Magee, the star man as the game progressed, almost created 3-1 when his fizzing reverse-stick cross was almost back-healed home by Dowds.

But Glenanne were back on terms in brilliant fashion before the end of the third quarter. Johnny Kane was the instigator, evading two tackles before flicking into the path of Mick McGuinness on the right edge of the circle. He calmly picked out Gary Shaw in the centre and he dinked over Lennox from close range.

A flowing fourth quarter saw Banbridge get back in front once more, Magee winning another couple of corners from which Ross McCandless again obliged with a rising bullet. Lennox’s unfortunate touch, though, forced extra-time. Both sides had sights on goal but neither was able to convert setting up five rounds of penalty one-on-ones.

Only four were needed as Lennox kept four out while Bruce McCandless and the second from effervescent Magee put them 2-0 up and into an unassailable position. They now await the winner of Pembroke and Lisnagarvey.

Glenanne: Stephen Doran, Filip Jaros, David Keogh (capt), Graham Shaw, David Shaw, Jonathan Kane, Eddie O’Malley, Joe Brennan, Shane O’Donoghue, Richie Shaw, Gary Shaw
Subs: Mick McGuinness, Brendan Parsons, Stephen Brownlow, Paul Fitzpatrick, Fred van der Weij
Banbridge: Gareth Lennox, Stephen Forbes, Scott Forbes, Diarmuid Reay, Bruce McCandless, Colin Dowds (capt), Philip Brown, Ross McCandless, Scott McCandless, Dane Ward, Drew Carlisle
Subs: Matthew Bell, Peter Brown, Simon Magowan, Owen Magee, Hugh McShane

Pembroke 1 (Patrick Good) Lisnagarvey 2 (Timmy Cockram 2)
Lisnagarvey ended Pembroke’s two-year reign as Irish Hockey League champions as Timmy Cockram led the Ulster champions to victory on home turf on the Comber Road.

It means the province will have two places in the 2011/12 EuroHockey League, too, as either ’Garvey or Bann will now join Cookstown – Irish Senior Cup champions – in the continent’s flagship club event.

Bitty and scrappy, neither side managed to get much rhythm going at any point but the northern side probably shaded proceedings though they were twice thankful to the crossbar to keep them ahead.

Pembroke welcomed back Colin Kelly, Gordon Elliott and Paddy Conlon to their panel following their European exertions but were rocked in the seventh minute when Timmy Cockram picked up Steven Arbuthnot’s cross, delayed before rolling a reverse past the impressive Simon Thornton.

Gordon Elliott cracked the bar four minutes later while a corner was deflected wide. Patrick Good, however, did find the net in the 31st minute following a right-wing move from Alan Giles, racing 40-metres to the heart of the circle to make it 1-1 at the break.

Cockram restored the lead very early into the second period from the penalty spot, a heavily debated decision by Pembroke who felt it was stick rather than body which prevented the ball crossing the line. It brings the ’Garvey man to within two of Shane O’Donoghue at the top of the goalscorer’s charts for this term.

Chances were of the half-cooked nature, thereafter. Mick O’Connor ghosted past a couple but his slip pass got only half a touch from Kirk Shimmins while Arbuthnot had a cut from a difficult angle – it whizzed high and handsome.

Ronan Flannery drew a fine low stick save from Alex McRoberts before Thornton kept the tie just about alive with a double save from Arbuthnot and Daniel. Cockram ran out time and Lisnagarvey have a shot of their first national title since 2005.

Pembroke: Simon Thornton, Ronan Flannery, Alan Giles (c), Karl Lynch, Maurice Elliott, Colin Kelly, Paddy Conlon, Craig Wilson, Michael O’Connor, Patrick Good, Mairtin Cronin
Subs: Keith Crawford, Gordon Elliott, Kirk Shimmins, Ken Treacy, Scott Furlong
Lisnagarvey: Alex McRoberts, Brian Waring, Johnny Bell, Richard Arneill, Jason Lynch, Mark Raphael, Timmy Cockram, Steven Arbuthnot, John Gray (c), Andy Forrest, Greg Thompson
Subs: Patrick Martin, Glen Whitten, Mark Daniel, Daniel Buser, Michael Harte

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