All-Ireland Schoolboy’s Championship qualifiers
Stefan Gallagher, pictured, produced a pair of brilliant penalty saves to hand Newpark a dramatic place in the All-Ireland Schoolboy’s hockey championships for the second successive year, denying Kilkenny College.
They emerged through the qualifiers yesterday in a shoot-out after Evan Garland had popped up two minutes from time to earn the Blackrock school a last gasp reprieve. And Irish underage international Gallagher saw it home as he twice guessed correctly, picking off a stick save to his right and then the crucial save with his boot for a 4-3 success.
It looked a long way off for Newpark earlier in the tie as Kilkenny had bossed much of the early phases. The pair had both earlier beaten Dundalk GS 3-0, making this a winner-take-all affair and the cats were in the ascendancy when Sean Lambe slotted home for a half-time.
Jack Walsh snuck in to tip home the deftest of equalisers on the counter but, amid a series of penalty corners, Eamon Walshe struck home his third strike of the day with an emphatic straight hit.
It looked to be enough until Johnny McCormack played a raking ball into the circle which wreaked havoc and Garland finished off from close range and Gallagher stood tall in a high quality stroke competition.
Newpark will be joined by St Columba’s who had a slightly easier route into the marquee event – which takes place in late October – as they emerged from a group with Kings Hospital and Mount Temple. Columba’s got the better of KH in a 2-1 result while Temple set up a straight shoot-out when they ran up a 5-2 win in Whitechurch Park.
But their showdown proved a one-sided affair as the Rathfarnham school ran up a 5-0 win. They complete Leinster’s contingent of five sides with Wesley, St Andrew’s and Sutton Park pre-qualified by virtue of their cup and league successes last season.
All-Ireland Schoolboy’s Championship qualifiers:
Group One: Newpark 3 (M Flanagan, A Ramsey, E Garland) Dundalk GS 0; Kilkenny College 3 (E Walshe 2, C Dick) Dundalk GS 0; Newpark 2 (J Walsh, E Garland) Kilkenny 2 (E Walshe, S Lambe)
Standings: 1. Newpark 4pts (+3) 2. Kilkenny 4pts (+3) 3. Dundalk GS 0pts (-6)
** Newpark beat Kilkenny 4-3 on penalty strokes
Group Two: St Columba’s 2 Kings Hospital 1; Mount Temple 5 Kings Hospital 2; St Columba’s 5 Mount Temple 0
Standings: 1. St Columba’s (+6) 6pts 2. Mount Temple 3pts (-2) 3. Kings Hospital 0pts (-4)