Portrane end 79-year wait for national glory

A bumper of weekend of finals saw nine titles – four national and five in Leinster – decided in Dublin at the weekend. From a hometown perspective on the national stage, pick of the bunch was Portrane’s victory in the Irish Hockey Challenge.

It was the biggest day in over half a century, ending a 79-year wait for a national title when they stormed to the Irish Hockey Challenge title last Saturday in Belfield.

The purples reigned supreme in the stands as their growing youth contingent transferred over from a training session in Milltown with heavily-capped Irish internationals Graham Shaw and Shirley McCay to make plenty of noise in the weekend’s opening final.

They say Nasir Munir repeat his heroics from the 2007 Irish Senior Cup, scoring twice in a 6-2, showing his quick hands and trickery have scarcely abated despite tipping the 40-mark.

His influence on the club has also manifested itself in bringing a contingent of his protégées from his coaching in Sandford Park to the north Dublin club.

One such player, Emmett Lawlor-McHugh also weighed in with a pair while Mukhtar Ahmed and Ralph Billings also weighed in with a goal each. Kilkenny’s goals were recorded by schoolboy Eamon Walsh and former UCD club captain Tristan Lynas.

UCC’s wait for a national title continues as they were undone by South Antrim 2-1 in the Irish Hockey Trophy final at Belfield on Sunday.

Roger Gray’s drag-flick had them level but Ian Harbinson flicked high off a rebound to score what proved the winner before half-time.

UCC – for whom sweeper Andrew Gray gave a stunning defensive performance – had their chances to draw level in the second half, Roger Gray’s trickery creating shooting opportunities but Peter Catchpole and Fionn O’Leary were both nudged out when well-placed.

On the women’s side, Katie McQuillan and Katie Morris’ all-round excellence up top for Lisnagarvey were the spurs in a 2-0 victory over Ulster rivals Portadown.

They grabbed a goal each in an impressive success, the latter sealing the win in the closing stages after the former had broken the deadlock.

Limerick claimed the ESB Electric Women’s Irish Hockey Challenge on Saturday when they had far too much in the tank for Dungarvan, Fenagh Smith firing a hat-trick in a 7-0 win.

On the domestic front, Corinthian II claimed the Railway Cup title with a 4-2 victory at St Columba’s, emerging from a minefield of a top half of the draw which featured most of the big-hitters at this level – the likes of Pembroke, Glenanne, Monkstown and YMCA.

Youth and experience was the key with players like Neil Pelow and Ian Stuart being guided by skipper Adrian Missen, Miles Warren and Colm Blennerhassett. Gareth Davis netted twice.

The Rathgar Chiefs seconds picked up their first ever piece of silverware in their inaugural year with Brian Cleere – one of the major organisers in the new club – fittingly scoring the winning goal.

Another of the former Trinity crew, Cian Denham, bagged his side’s first two but Glenanne’s fifth team were not going to give up their Minor Cup up without a battle and pushed the Chiefs to a 3-2 scoreline.

On the women’s side, Corinthian V made it a trophy bonanza for the Whitechurch club as they denied Avoca II a second successive league and cup double with a dramatic 4-3 win for the Division 9/10 Cup title

Skerries IV did, however, get the coveted double in equally exciting fashion, needing penalty strokes to claim the Division 13/14 Cup.

Naas won their tussle with Swords in yet another cracker, this time annexing the Division ¾ Cup with a 4-2 victory, on a brilliant day of finals action at Grange Road.

Men’s Irish Hockey Trophy final: South Antrim 2 (Ricky O’Neill, Ian Harbinson) UCC 1 (Roger Gray)
Men’s Irish Hockey Challenge Final: Kilkenny 2 (Tristan Lynas, Eamon Walsh) Portrane 6 (Nasir Munir 2, Emmett Lawlor-McHugh 2, Mukhtar Ahmad, Ralph Billings)

Railway Cup Final Corinthian II 4 (Gareth Davis 2, Colm Blennerhassett, Adrian Missen) Railway Union II 2
Minor Cup final: Rathgar Chiefs 3 (Cian Denham 2, Brian Cleere) Glenanne 2

Women’s cup results:
ESB Electric Ireland Irish Senior Cup, quarter-finals: Ulster Elks 1 (N Wise) Hermes 2 (L Jacob, J Burke); Pegasus 4 (C McMahon, N Graham, V Surgeoner, M Harvey) Lurgan 1 (C McClure)

ESB Electric Ireland Irish Hockey Trophy: Portadown 0 Lisnagarvey 2 (Katie McQuillan, Katie Morris)
ESB Electric Ireland Irish Hockey Challenge Final: Dungarvan 0 Limerick 7 (Fenagh Smith 3, Lorraine McGowan, Ciara Hayes, Karen O’Flynn, Jenni Lyttle)

Leinster Division 3/4 Cup final: Naas 4 Swords 2
Division 9/10 Cup final: Avoca II 3 Corinthian V 4
Division 13/14 Cup final: Skerries IV 1 Dalkey II 1, Skerries won on penalty strokes

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