Town and YM Leinster’s leading lights

Men’s Irish Hockey League round-up
Pool A: Glenanne 3 (J Kane, E O’Malley, D Keogh) Monkstown 4 (N Dee, R O’Moore, R Watkins, S Cole); Cork Harlequins 0 Cookstown 5 (G Allen, T Smyth, I Sloan 2); Banbridge 6 (S Dowds 3, O Magee 2, J Moffett) Instonians 5 (W Robinson 2, P Gleghorne, J Watson, M Irwin)

A brave Glenanne final quarter decision blew up wildly in their face as Monkstown earned some revenge for their recent league setback to the Tallaght side but, more importantly, kept alive Leinster hopes of a semi-final from Pool A.

Leading 3-2 in the last quarter, Glenanne decided to pull their goalkeeper and add an extra outfield player to their line up as they chased the bonus point.

The move backfired, as Monkstown scored two goals in to an empty net and left with a valuable three points and now have the simple equation of needing to outdo whatever Banbridge garner next weekend.

Jonathan Kane opened the scoring in the second quarter as he was quickest to react to a rebound following David Fitzpatrick’s save from Eddie O’Malley’s shot.

The Glens were dominating the match, winning the corner battle 8-2 overall, but neither side had a good day at the set piece phase. Town captain Nick Dee equalised from a fine counter attack midway through the third quarter
However, the lead was quickly re-established as O’Malley deflected home from David Keogh’s square pass. Runar O’Moore pulled the sides level with ten minutes to go after a nice intricate move down the right hand side. But the hosts looked set for three points at least when David Keogh finished well after nice play from Stephen Brownlow, but there was a sting in the tail.

Leading 3-2, Glens pulled their goalkeeper in the final quarter as they chased a fourth goal that would give them a bonus point and a better shot at semi-final qualification next week.

But the move backfired spectacularly, as Ross Watkins smacked home into an unguarded net to equalise for Monkstown. And though Glens re-established their GK to the field at that stage, Stephen Cole hit a winner for the Town to add insult to injury.

With Cookstown strengthening their position with a thumping 5-0 win over Cork Harlequins – Greg Allen recovering from a virus to net twice as the score was built to four by the 42ndminute – it left nervy glances to updates on Bann’s amazing game with Instonians.

The Co Down side trailed at one point 5-2 but a thrill-a-minute final quarter saw them produce the goods from what looked the point-of-no-return at Havelock Park. William Robinson opened the scoring for the visitors in the third minute with a well taken reverse shot from the edge of the circle.

Bann’s main threat early was through the pace of Steven Dowds and, following creative approach work with Owen Magee, the home team won their first penalty corner which Dowds dispatched high.

After a couple more chances, though,Inst retook the lead from their second penalty corner, when Paul Gleghorne flicked powerfully into the roof. Matthew Bell forced a corner which Dowds duly equalised from for 2-2 at half-time.

An excellent third quarter, though, had Inst set up for the win as John Watson finished off a quick break, William Robinson rebounded a corner and Mark Irwin weighed in with a deflection for a 5-2 lead. But Bann were then given a lifeline when Magee scored in the final minute of the quarter following a pass from Bruce McCandless.

And the frenetic pace continued into the closing phase as a forceful Dane Ward run into the circle saw Magee score at the second attempt. Josh Moffett forced the ball through the keeper’s legs from an acute angle for 5-5 and Bann poured forward with five minutes to go. They won their final penalty corner which Steven Dowds powered home for a hat-trick and an unlikely victory.

Standings: 1. Cookstown 13pts (+10) 2. Banbridge 10pts (+4) 3. Monkstown 10pts (+4) 4. Harlequins 5pts (-8) 5. Glenanne 4pts (-5) 6. Instonians 3pts (-5).

Pool B: Cork C of I 0 TRR 2 (J Hosking, A White); YMCA 4 (M Richardson, I McHugh, R Pedreshi, P Powderly) Pembroke Wanderers 0; Lisnagarvey 4 (T Cockram 2, A Forrest, M Raphael) Annadale 2 (A Williamson 2)
A group balanced on a knife-edge prior to the weekend, YMCA’s bonus point win over Pembroke and Lisnagarvey’s 4-2 victory over Annadale blew Pool B apart with the latter assured of a third successive semi-final berth while YMCA are a point away.

YM earned their breaks as Marcus Richardson, Ian McHugh, Richard Pedreschi and Phil Powderly were all on the mark in a slightly more even encounter than the score suggested but the Milltown hosts were ruthlessly efficient.

They netted twice in the second quarter from corners with Richardson sweeping home a corner switch and McHugh got on the end of another move before Pembroke had five corners in succession after half-time.

But, with a couple of yellows hindering Pembroke’s progress, YM cut loose in the closing quarter with Pedreschi on the end of a breakaway move before Powderly assured the bonus point.

They will need just a losing point against Three Rock Rovers next weekend in Alex after the Rathfarnham club all but ended the chances of Cork C of I despite fielding seven IHL debutants, including three U-16 players.

One of those first-timers, Jody Hosking, was in inspired form as CI struggled to break down a stubborn defensive show. He scored the first from a narrow angle before Stephen West saved a couple of John Jermyn corners.

The Garryduff hosts continued to camp in Rovers’ territory but the Dubliners countered effectively as, first Craig Moore and Dylan Shirley combined to go close while the clincher came in the 48th minute when Alan White broke through to score.

The fourth quarter saw battle lines move further into the Three Rock half but again the Rovers defence held firm. A number of shots were defected wide or off target before keeper Stephen West was troubled.

He made two saves from play before making the save of the match – a fine diving stick save high to his right from a John Jermyn corner. C of I kept pressing to the end but their shots went wide and the Rovers defence held firm. Garvey, meanwhile, put a big dent in Annadale’s hopes as they picked off a 4-2 win over their near neighbours, sealing their passage in the process.

Standings: 1. Lisnagarvey 12pts (+6) 2. YMCA 10pts (+5) 3. Annadale 6pts (-2) 4. C of I 6pts (-2) 5. Pembroke 5pts (-4) 6. TRR 4pts (-3).

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