Men’s Leinster Division Two
Avoca 3 (Sean Walsh 2, Peter Haughton) Trinity 2 (Roger Clarke, Fred Mann)
Avoca are back in the big time after a six year absence they produced an incredible comeback in the closing 11 minutes of their tie against Dublin University to get the point they required to confirm the success.
It looked a long way off as Trinity started the game in better fashion, fielding a much stronger side than the one that played Weston on Monday night. Within the first five minutes, playing with four forwards, they had Avoca on the back foot, Roger Clarke scoring a quick rebound from a Stefan Gallagher save that was not cleared despite the Irish underage international’s pair of first up saves.
Avoca struggled to convert chances into goals with both teams sharing a good amount of possession each. The post denied Sean Walsh and Cliff Bailey while Kristian Fitzgerald was found to be in good form, pulling together a number of saves both from corners and open play.
The Blackrock side were subsequently caught on the break five minutes before the interval from an attacking corner. The ball turned over quickly and Trinity broke with pace and exposed a 4 on 3 to score a second goal through Fred Mann, again after Gallagher had made a couple of saves.
The second half saw much of the same, although Avoca managed to retain possession much more fluently and started to press forward. The second half saw Trinity with the higher corner count but each time they were neatly defended. While
Walsh, Naughton, Ezra Handlemen and Enda Gallinagh all had their opportunities.
But, just as it looked like it was not to be their day, Freddie Hill and Andrew Tyrell were both injured and, with 11 minutes to go, the students rejigged defence struggled to get the ball out of defence. A broken down play in the Trinity D fell to Walsh who hammered home high over the keeper for his 20th League goal of the season. Five minutes later, he got his 21st as a drive down the right found the Australian at the top right of the circle and he neatly finished to the bottom left, putting them on course for the point they required.
They instantly dropped back to 4-4-2 to protect the draw for the little time that remained but a last minute break saw them home side in dreamland when a quick break yielded a short corner. Peter Haughton ripped a drag flick – a rare corner for the side for whom scoring from play has been their forte – to the top right to seal the game and promotion.
Weston 1 (Enda Tucker) Rathgar 2 (Richard Tector, Jonathan Orr)
Rathgar’s eighth in of the campaign saw them deny Weston any chance of returning to division one as Jonathan Orr netted in the closing ten minutes for the game’s deciding moment. After a period of play between the 25s, the game sprung to life when Rathgar intercepted a long ball on halfway before returning the ball with interest to Richard Tector on the right side of the circle and he fired in at the near post for a 31st minute lead. Enda Tucker replied 15 minutes into the second half with a sweetly taken reverse but the Chiefs took the result late on as Graham O’Neill’s diagonal ball caused the initial problems with Orr ghosting in to get the vital touch. The game also saw the Chiefs field Johnny Watt – brother of Mikey – for one of his first appearances for the first team since switching back to hockey from the rugby field.
Suttonians 6 (Harry Spain 3, Richie Wormald 2, Reuben Holden) Mullingar 0
Harry Spain’s hat-trick of drag-flicks pinned down a second chance for Suttonians to go up via a playoff as they hope they can overturn the loss they endured a couple of years ago at the hands of UCD. Spain started the run before Richie Wormald added a second following Gavin O’Brien’s good run from the back, finding his more experienced team mate on the top of the circle where he roofed a reverse. Spain made it three and the fourth was nabbed by Wormald on the rebound. Spain completed his tally for 5-0 and Reuben Holden closed out the scoring, reacting quickly to a second phase corner.