Irish Hockey League Round 5
Men’s Pool A
Monkstown and Cookstown made it through to the semi-finals with what ended up as the minimum of fuss as Banbridge’s bizarre 4-0 loss to an under-strength Glenanne meant that any predicted tension was at a minimum.
Jonathan Kane’s hat-trick at Glenanne Park under-pinned the Tallaght side’s victory, despite soaking up large periods of pressure, putting Bann out of the competition as Monkstown ran up a comfortable win over Cork Harlequins.
Indeed, the writing was on the wall by half-time as Stephen Cole – recovered from a midweek flu bug – fired across a reverse-stick ball to Runar O’Moore who slapped in at the second attempt.
Andrew Ward got a touch to Richard Sykes’ crash ball and the defender subsequently dragged high for 3-0 at the break. With Bann 2-0 down across the city, it left the Co Down side needing six second half goals but none materialised as Kane and an own goal saw off their challenge in emphatic style.
Monkstown, though, did not let up and Syke buried another corner in the 40th minute before David Eakins got a consolation effort nine minutes from time but it was never going to stop their celebrations of a first IHL semi-final berth.
At Shawsbridge, meanwhile, Ulster Premier sides Cookstown and Instonians shared the points to put the Co Tyrone through as group winners, setting up a date with Lisnagarvey in the final four. David Best and Ian Sloan built a first half lead but Julian Lewis’ run led to a Mark Irwin finish on 43 minutes to get the game back in the mix.
William Robinson’s drag equalised but Andy Barbour got the reds back in front with 11 minutes to go. Once again, Inst responded as Paddy Young squared to James Corry to level with a minute left.
Pool A results: Cookstown 3 (D Best, I Sloan, A Barbour) Instonians 3 (M Irwin, W Robinson, J Corry); Glenanne 4 (J Kane 3, own goal) Banbridge 0; Monkstown 4 (R Sykes, R O’Moore, A Ward) Cork Harlequins 1 (D Eakins)
Final standings (goal difference): 1 Cookstown 15pts (10); 2 Monkstown 14pts (7); 3 Banbridge 10pts (0); 4 Glenanne 8pts (-1); 5 Instonians 5 pts (-5); 6 Cork Harlequins 5pts (-11).
Similar to Pool B, the major outcomes were decided inside the first half of YMCA’s game with Three Rock Rovers as they were 2-0 up and cruising, well on course for the single point they needed to assure progression.
Jonny Bruton’s 15th goal of the season and an own goal which came after Geoff Walker’s ball pushed YM virtually to their target. Indeed, the second half opened the possibility of topping the Pool and they did just that when Bruton reversed home to put his side in bonus point territory.
Peter Blakeney pulled one back but Marcus Richardson closed out a 5-1 win with two classy finishes in the fourth quarter.
It gave them a bonus point win and Pembroke’s 3-3 draw at Lisnagarvey. Having already qualified for the final four, Garvey were aiming to keep their 100pc record going and started well, Daniel Buser beating former team mate David Williamson.
Tim Lewis equalised just before quarter-time from close range but the home side’s third corner put them back into the lead. The drag-flick from Timmy Cockram was parried by Williamson but Steven Arbuthnot was at the right hand post to reverse stick into the net.
Mossie Elliott equalised for their second time and Lewis had the chance to put the Dubliners but saw John Tormey stop his penalty stroke. In response, Garvey had one take off the line before Cockram restored the lead in the 51st minute from another corner.
But Pembroke finished strong with Elliott restoring parity for a third time from a sixth corner, an outcome which helped YM go top of the pool. Results elsewhere, meanwhile, meant Annadale and Cork C of I’s battle at Lough Moss was purely academic. An own goal gave the visitors the lead but a Peter Caruth strike meant the sides went in at half-time level.
The third quarter burst into life as two goals from Stephen Sweetnam and one each from Gary Wilkinson and David Hobbs built a 5-2 lead – Caruth grabbing a second leveller.
With just one sub, Annadale anticipated a late charge but could only muster a Chris Campbell consolation – denying CI a bonus point – to reduce the margin to 5-3.
Men’s Pool B: YMCA 5 (J Bruton 2, M Richardson 2, own goal) Three Rock Rovers 1 (P Blakeney); Annadale 3 (P Caruth 2, C Campbell) Cork C of I 5 (S Sweetnam 2, D Hobbs, G Wilkinson, own goal); Lisnagarvey 3 (D Buser, S Arbuthnot, T Cockram) Pembroke Wanderers 3 (M Elliott 2, T Lewis);
Final standings (goal difference): 1 YMCA 14pts (9); 2 Lisnagarvey 14pts (6); 3 Cork C of I 9pts (0); 4 Pembroke Wanderers 7pts (-4); 5 Annadale 6pts (-4); 6 Three Rock Rovers 4pts (-7).
Finals weekend (Lisnagarvey HC, May 5-6)
Semi-finals: Lisnagarvey v Cookstown; Monkstown v YMCA
Qualified for IHL 2012/13: Cookstown, Lisnagarvey, Annadale, Banbridge (Ulster); Glenanne, Monkstown, Pembroke Wanderers, Railway Union (Leinster); Cork Harlequins, Cork Church of Ireland (Munster).
Wildcard playoffs (UCD, May 18-20)
Men: Instonians (Ulster), YMCA (Leinster), UCC (Munster)