Men’s Irish Senior Cup final
Cork Harlequins 4 (D Hobbs 2, D Egner, C Ross) Railway Union 3 (R Abbott, K Chapple, C Ross)
There were admissions afterwards that as many as four Cork Harlequins’ players had named 2011/12 as their last. How many carry out that threat now remains to be seen as the impending EuroHockey League campaign is likely to extend lengthy years of service to at least October.
It was something which skipper Mark Black agreed is a likelihood in the wake of the Farmer’s Cross club’s 4-3 Irish Senior Cup win over Railway Union.
He told The Hook: “I was planning on retiring but we’ll have to revisit that one. Another year in us? The EHL should be interesting!”
That they managed to annex their second Irish Senior Cup title will be cause for great wonder for many years. Their only other win, back in 2006, was seen by many as the fruition of a golden generation, their third final in the space of four years, with a crop of players in their prime.
No fewer than nine of that side – many of whom are now well into their 30s – now have a second medal as their experience and corner efficiency saw off a Railway Union side at the opposite end of the spectrum.
Fielding four schoolboys in the match day 16, it made for a novel final pairing which few could have predicted at the season’s start. The tussle they served up was light on tactics but made for a thrill-a-minute contest.
Dan Hobbs double and a close-range volley from Colin Ross turned logic on its head as Railway – gunning for a first title since 1938 – bossed most of the play.
But they never found a smart enough pathway through John Hobbs’ defensive line while Chris Daunt picked off a string of top saves.
Their two early goals owed much to fortune as Mark English’s baseline pull-back found an inviting foot to deflect into Rob Abbott’s path for a simple finish.
David Egner equalised when Paul Lombard’s miscontrol fell his way but Railway had the lead when Daunt stood on a crash ball that Karl Chapple snapped up. With English inspiring much down the left wing, Railway looked well placed to push on.
But Quins’ ability to win corners, especially via former international David Eakins, allowed the Cork side to maximise their returns from what attacks they did have.
Dan Hobbs ripped home one low to level at 2-2 on 46 minutes and two minutes later he aimed one higher and further into the corner for the lead. Ross all but assured the result with ten minutes left when Hobbs’ drag was rebounded by Egner onto the bar.
Peter English got one back with three minutes to go from the penalty spot but Quins played the endgame well, skipper Mark Black – another former international – playing out time.
Reacting afterwards, Black added it was something he scarcely could have envisaged earlier in the campaign. “I can’t believe it. It’s amazing for the club, for the lads like David Eakins there who has been playing 14 years, in his fourth senior cup final and has never won one,” he said.
“It’s been a long journey for some of us but this is the prize.I never expected us to be back in this arena. If you said at the start of the year, we’d be winning the Irish Senior Cup, I wouldn’t have put money on it; it’s just amazing.”
He also paid tribute to coach Phil Oakley who has helped the club manage to get back Munster superiority from Cork C of I in the past two seasons, adding this cup title for good measure.
“Phil’s dedication with us has been massive. It’s been a learning curve for him, too, it being the first men’s side he has coached. We’ve worked well as a team together. A couple of the older heads have been helping Phil along, too, and he has a big future ahead of him.”
Both Black and Lombard brothers were said to be donning the black and white for a last time. With a EuroHockey League campaign to come, such threats may well be put on hold.
For Railway, it brought to an end a ground-breaking season, getting into the IHL places with a fourth place Leinster league finish and a first ISC final place since the 1970s.
Kenny Carroll afterwards spoke graciously and at length in the post-match speech, citing the incredible influence of coach Ian O’Keeffe, crediting him with “bringing Railway from the bottom of division one” to this point. With just two players at the 30 mark and the majority with most their 20s still to come, they could push on further if all stay together for a few more seasons.
Railway Union: S O’Keeffe, K Chapple, R Nair, K Carroll, M English, P English, R Forrest, R Abbott, E MacArthur, F Keaveney, J Duncan Subs: R Devlin, D McCarthy, A Garcia, F Maher, R Boreland
Cork Harlequins: C Daunt, D Eakins, P O’Driscoll, J Hobbs, D Hobbs, J Black, M Black, P McLaughlin, D Egner, P Lombard, D Lombard Subs: S Nicholson, R Hobbs, B Hayes-Curtin, S Ross, C Ross Umpires: D Clarke, G Conn
18 Responses to “Retirements on hold as Quins topple Railway”
May 13, 2012 9:34 pm Hockey Fan says
Absolutely thrilled for Quins. They’ve had a few tough years so it’s great to see them back on top. Great game today. Both sides should be very proud. Relatively good clean hockey played! Experience and well executed corners won it. Best of luck in Europe!
May 13, 2012 9:42 pm Cookstown Hockey Club says
Congrats to Quins! and enjoy the EHL
Magic of the Senior Cup!!
May 14, 2012 3:57 am frank ribery says
big congrats to quinns…. ye deserved it, better side on the day, hopefully we’ll be back and have our day in the sun….. best of luck in europe
May 14, 2012 11:44 am Fridge-d Fan says
The Fridge was like a sniper with his cannon! BOOOMMMM!
May 14, 2012 12:54 pm The Truth says
Congratulations to Quinns but also to Railway. Fantastic achievement on making the final and shows the real progress they’ve made over the last number of years. Certainly no real surprise they are now competing at these levels.
May 14, 2012 4:28 pm abbo says
Congrats to Cork Harlequins, a cracking season for them what with winning the Munster League aswell.
Best of Luck to you guys next season in the EHL.
May 14, 2012 6:29 pm Hockey Fan says
thanks a million for a fantastic seasons coverage stephen. You’re brilliant!!!
May 14, 2012 9:45 pm secret admirer says
Im pretty sure a pack of 3 legged dogs could win the Munster league
May 15, 2012 8:40 am Ireland says
An amazing achievement by Quins. Nobody thought this win was on the cards. Congrats to Phil Oakley, Alan O’Driscoll, Mark Black & all the amazing squad.
May 15, 2012 9:33 am Hookedman says
@secretadmirer a shame you felt the need to throw in that comment, if the Munster league is weaker, it’s even more impressive that Quins won the cup, beating three Ulster sides and an impressive Railway Union. Fair play to Quins and to Railway, great achievements from both squads
May 15, 2012 2:56 pm Hockey Fan says
@ secretadmirer. I think you should be neutered along with your team of three legged dogs! Munster may not have the depth of hockey that Ulster and Leinster have but they have shown on the bigger stage that they do have the quality. Well done to Quins,what a wonderful win, and the fact that it was unexpected,makes it even more sweet for them.Hard luck to Railway who were also ‘unexpected’ finalists, but I am sure your appetite for the fray for next season has been whetted.
The favourites may all have fallen early in the competition, but the final was still hotly contested. Well done to both teams.Such is the excitement and the appael of the ISC!
May 15, 2012 8:47 pm Douglas Clark says
Hard luck Raiway. You’ll be back. Good result for George Fitch. Sorry I missed the final as on holiday in Trieste.
May 16, 2012 8:02 am Pea.Oh. Kneel says
I think Railway are just a couple of players short of being potentially the best team in the country. Add in a top class centre forward and another top class defender to go beside Ken Carroll and Railway will be rolling in the silverware.
May 16, 2012 12:59 pm Mastermind says
Ifs and buts. Sounds remarkably like Monkstown when they lost their first senior cup. Of course any team could potentially be the best team in the country if you add a couple of top class players!
May 16, 2012 3:08 pm Parsons says
Pea.Oh. Kneel – This comment kinda belittles other players on Railway’s team. They have lots of excellent players in their squad, many of them are still very young abd will have great success in the future.
May 16, 2012 7:08 pm waldo says says
RAILWAY HAVE A BRIGHT FUTURE.THEY BEAT CURRENT CHAMPS.GLENS.BEST TEAM IN ULSTER GARVEY.LOST TO VERY EXPERIENCED HARLEQUINS IN ISCF FINAL.HAVE MANY QUALITY PLAYERS.HAVE IHL.CUP.AND LEAUGE CHALLENGE.AND HOPEFULLY ADD TO SQUAD NEXT YEAR.
May 17, 2012 4:54 pm Stickler says
WHY ARE YOU SHOUTING?? somebody is a fan of full stops! I think there will be a lot of strong squads next year. IHL places are going to be fought to the wire for. TRR were unlucky with injuries. and with a few more acquisitions UCD could become competitive. Lets just keep the shouting down. Try and think of the children. WE HAVE TO KEEP OUR COMPOSURE!!! Congrats to Quins. Well deserved.
May 18, 2012 8:23 pm Joe O'Mahony says
Just to note that it was Dave Egner that won 4 corner not Dave Eakins. Both look similar …COME ON THE MIGHTY QUINS
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