UCD stun Pembroke as Town go four clear

Men’s Leinster Division One
Saturday: UCD 6 (Shane O’Donoghue 2, David Watkins 2, Nick Burns, Conor Motyer) Pembroke 4 (Alan Sothern 3, Craig Wilson)

The most eye-catching result of the season thus far, a blistering set of three goals in three minutes saw UCD put Pembroke to the sword at Belfield on Saturday. The students accuracy in the circle was the central tenet of their success as just 13 circle entries yielded their half-dozen. They were never behind in a thrill a minute, end-to-end tie as a superb breakaway goal saw them take the lead as a Pembroke corner broke down and the attack went full pitch with David Watkins clipping home the first goal.

Conor Quinn made a series of good saves in the tie but Alan Sothern levelled on the stroke of half-time. Shane O’Donoghue restored the lead in the 39th minute when he took in a long overhead and finished deftly past the diving Dave Williamson.
Nick Burns’ drag-flick made it 3-1 two minutes later but corner goals from Sothern and Craig Wilson’s excellently-taken volleyed rebound tied the game up at 3-3.

But UCD responded brilliantly with Watkins and Conor Motyer finishing from play before O’Donoghue capped the win in the 66th minute. Sothern completed his hat-trick in the closing phases to bring his season’s tally to 16 but it was scant consolation as Pembroke lost top spot in the division with their first league defeat.

Corinthian 6 (Lucas Piccioli 3, Neil Young, Davy Carson, Lloyd McLoughlin) Clontarf 2 (Andrew Butler, James Gurbiel)
Player-coach Lucas Piccioli’s treble punished Clontarf who never got to the pace of the game at Whitechurch Park. There was four in the gap before James Gurbiel got his second goal of the campaign while Andrew Butler’s tidy deflection completed the scoring. Prior to that, the reds over-ran Clontarf with a series of close range goals as with regular overloads in the bulls’ circle, they were able to play their way around the Clontarf defence with ease. Davy Carson netted his tenth of the season while there was a first strike for Kiwi import Lloyd McLoughlin.

Railway Union 1 (Eoin MacArthur) TRR 0
Eoin MacArthur’s contested corner rebound 20 minutes from time proved the sole divider between Railway Union and Three Rock Rovers, a far closer affair than the two prior hammerings the Park Avenue hosts inflicted on their IHL-chasing rivals. The goal came from a scrappy corner which saw the injection miscued, leading to a slap-shot which bounced around the circle before MacArthur bundled into the goal, Rovers claiming it hit his body en route. It was an even tie in the first half but Railway bossed the second period in a bitty game of few clear-cut chances. Rob Abbott and Karl Chapple could have increased the lead while Rovers were denied a leveller when Gavin Bourke’s effort was ruled out as he flipped a ball into the air and volleyed into the goal, danger cited as the reason for disallowing it.

Monkstown 6 (Gareth Watkins 3, Kyle Good 2, Richard Sykes) Fingal 1 (Eamon Bane)
Monkstown took advantage of Pembroke’s loss to UCD to take on the front-runners role – for the first time since 1983 according to the club’s twitter account – as they ran up a comprehensive defeat of Fingal. Gareth Watkins was yet another of the league’s stars to run up a hat-trick as Fingal struggled to get going. Richard Sykes picked out the top right corner from an early corner to make it eight for the season. David Cole and Kyle Good combined to set up Watkins for his first with a back post tip-in and he made it 3-0 at half-time after Robbie McFarlane had tangled with Nigel Grothier.
Watkins’ penalty stroke made it four before Eamon Bane’s corner goal got one back for Fingal. But Kyle Good netted a second stroke after Nick Dee was fouled as cards began to be dished out as the game took on a loose hue. Good added another late on to complete the Rathdown rout.

Sunday: UCD 1 (Patrick Shanahan) Fingal 2 (Adrian Sweeney, Eamon Bane)
From the highs of Saturday’s big win over Pembroke, UCD fell to a frustrating defeat to Fingal as the airport side conceived of a tactical formula to out-think the students. Fingal’s work-rate and defensive rigidity saw the twin threats of Shane O’Donoghue and Nick Burns quietened with chances at an absolute premium until Fingal were reduced at one stage to eight players.

The ALSAA men hit the front when Glen Shekleton – particularly industrious down the right flank –put in an overhead past the UCD backline to Simon McKeever whose shot was partially saved and Adrian Sweeney won the race to finish off the next phase. A sweetly worked Eamon Bane corner move boosted the lead to 2-0 just before half-time.

It preceded an ugly second half in which UCD had lots of possession but did not force goalkeeper Nigel Grothier into a meaningful touch. Fingal were compact and had a gilt-edged chance to seal the win when Tom Manning pulled back for Shekleton but his push was taken off the line by Ben Dobson. Numerous flash-points ensued as Derek O’Gorman was binned for taking out O’Donoghue haring down the right channel.

Nick Burns and Bane followed for an altercation in the circle which saw the majority of the players wade in and Ken Treacy soon followed for kicking out. Amid the melee, David Watkins hit the post with six minutes to go while Patrick Shanahan tipped in from close range as Sam O’Leary arrowed a fine reverse across goal but it was too late to nab a draw.

Monkstown 4 (Gareth Watkins 2, Lee Cole Gavin O’Halloran) Clontarf 1 (Cain Cooney)
The Town moved four points clear at the top of division one as they produced a workman-like, if not overly fluid, performance to inflict and seventh defeat of the campaign on Clontarf. Once again, Gareth Watkins was the man to cut loose after as the bulls matched the sky-blues in a scoreless first half. His deft chip over Stephen Cairns was en route to goal when Lee Cole nudged home the first before the Irish international applied a block-busting finish.

Cain Cooney finished off a well-worked move to get Clontarf back into the mix from their best move since a Kevin Mullins’ run in the first half. But Watkins got his fifth goal of the weekend, finishing off Cole and Gavin O’Halloran’s fine build-up work. Watkins returned the favour for O’Halloran to finish off a productive double weekend for the Town and see them in a strong position with one game left in the first half of the season.

Irish Junior Cup, round one round-up
Suttonians pulled off the biggest coup of the men’s Irish Junior Cup as the division four side got the better of division three’s joint leaders with Irish U-16 starlet Jack Ryan netting twice. Eoin Buttanshaw’s golden goal deflection to Roly Budd’s pass saw Three Rock advance 3-2 in South Antrim while Pembroke came away from Instonians with a 4-3 result.

Monkstown were ousted as Ian Hamilton was on the mark twice in a 4-3 victory for Annadale – the four time winners in the noughties making a strong opening gambit while Railway Union were also beaten in Ulster, falling 4-1 to Raphoe and Clontarf were beaten at Newry. Corinthian had far too much strength for Dublin University, the day’s big winners on a 12-0 scoreline.

YMCA picked up a strong 2-1 win over 1995 winners Glenanne but, with UCD exiting to last season’s finalists Banbridge, it leaves just five Leinster sides in the running in the last 16 for Monday’s draw. Bandon’s B team edged a Munster derby with Cork Harlequins while holders Lisnagarvey were 2-0 winners over Belfast Harlequins in another notable victory.

Irish Junior Cup, round one: Suttonians 4 (J Ryan 2, S Fallon, D Reamsbottom) Fingal 2 (D Gash, D Wheeler); Annadale 4 (I Hamilton 2, R Maybin, J Edgar) Monkstown 3 (Z Dutton, A Rooney, L Cole); Newry 6 (K McWilliams 2, P McCullough, J Greer, J Gregg, S McAfferty) Clontarf 1; Instonians 3 Pembroke Wanderers 4; Bangor 2 (J McAfee, R Coughlin) NICS 1; Dublin University 0 Corinthian 12 (I Stewart 4, C Hennessy 3, S Reid, A Malcolm, R McKenna, AN Other 2); South Antrim 2 (P Maguire, M Gray) Three Rock Rovers 3 (J Dalrymple, A Macken, E Buttanshaw) (aet, golden goal); Cookstown 6 (R Miller 3, M Wilson, R Nelson, M Costello) North Down 0; Cork C of I 6 (S Sweetnam 4, G Wilkinson, G Chambers) Mossley 1; Kilkeel 4 UCC 3 (C Kavanagh, A Power, S Murphy); Lisnagarvey 2 Belfast Harlequins 0; UCD 3 Banbridge 6; Bandon 3 (M Beamish 2, I Byran) Cork Harlequins 2 (D Hobbs 2); Raphoe 4 (J Long 2, W Wacuope 2) Railway Union 1; Glenanne 1 (S O’Connor) YMCA 2

Men's Leinster Senior Div 1