Men’s Leinster Division One
Avoca 3 (Alistair Addison 2, Richard Couse) Fingal 3 (Shane Dempsey, Aidan Sweeney, Paddy Gahan)
Alisatair Addison’s penalty stroke 15 seconds from time kept Avoca’s chances of avoiding the automatic relegation place alive, salvaging a point after three times trailing at Newpark. It leaves them two points behind Fingal with both sides now seeking to grind out a win somewhere in the last six games of the campaign to swing their fortunes.
Shane Dempsey got the only goal of the first half when he tapped in off the back of a baseline move, laid on by Aidan Sweeney while Rob Pearson endured another injury issue to his hamstring to rule him out of the rest of the game.
The second half, though, was much more helter-skelter with Avoca back on terms through Richard Couse with a well-worked rebound, flicking over Nigel Grothier. Sweeney put Fingal back in front with a top deflection from David Bane’s shelled ball. Addison levelled from a corner scramble but Paddy Gahan looked to have grabbed the decisive goal when Eamonn Bane’s diagonal run created the space to crash into the circle. Gahan’s touch rebounded off a foot and past Sebastian Percivalle, standing in for the injured Stefan Gallagher.
The dramatic finale, though, saw Avoca win a series of four penalty corners, the last of which took a foot on the line. It was initially called a long corner but, after a long consultation, it was upgraded to a penalty stroke and Addison held his nerves to tie the match up.
YMCA 1 (Declan Spencer) Corinthian 0
Declan Spencer’s first half corner goal ended YMCA’s run of four games without a win, bouncing back up to third place in the division, dropping Corinthian down to fifth in the division. It came from a neatly worked move, the drag realigning with the injector who swept home at the left post.
It was the key moment in an open game and was Spencer’s last major involvement, a split chin requiring six stitches curtailing his part in the tie. From there, Ross Murray did well to deny Stephen Walker with a sharp save while Iain Walker denied Jethro Eustice and Sihle Ntuli with a remarkable triple save ten minutes from time from the reds biggest opening.
Jonny Bruton twice fired in dangerous reverses in the second half but neither found the backboard but YM held on for a gratefully received three points in the absence of Krystian Makowski (with Poland at the Champs Challenge) and Ben Campbell (U-18 interpros) along with coach Stephen Barry.
Pembroke 5 (Alan Sothern 2, Maurice Elliott 2, Craig Wilson) Railway Union 1 (Eoin MacArthur)
Four goals in the closing quarter saw Pembroke take full advantage of Three Rock’s loss to Monkstown to reassert their five-point lead at the top of division one, seeing off Railway Union. They cut frustrated figures as they lost for a third time in eight days and are now seven points off the IHL places.
In a lively first minute, Railway won a corner instantly but put it wide and, from the ensuing free out, Pembroke worked the ball up the pitch, won a corner of their own which Sothern duly score. That was how it remained until the 45th minute when, amid their purple patch, Railway levelled from a corner move, Eoin MacArthur finishing off.
David Williamson denied a couple of decent opportunities from Railway crash balls but Pembroke were sharper in the circles and they began their surge when Maurice Elliott snapped up a deflection.
He got his second from another corner while Craig Wilson’s solo effort was the pick of the bunch, latching onto an overhead, ghosting past a couple of players and finishing himself.
Monkstown 3 (Gareth Watkins, Stephen Cole, Jake Beirne) TRR 0
Monkstown showed the hunger to get the better of Three Rock and rise up to fourth in the division with a game in hand over their rivals above them. Stephen Cole returned from illness to finish off a switch-left from a corner for a first half as Town made better use of slippy conditions at Rathdown and were good value for the result from a free-flowing, chance-filled tie. At 1-0, Rovers had a number of chances to equalise with Craig Ellis picking off a number of saves. But once Gareth Watkins had clipped home a reverse after a left-wing attack, Monkstown eased home. Jake Beirne was credited with his first senior goal to close out the tie, tackling on the edge of his own circle to kick-start a counter attack down the right. He chased forward and his flick took a heavy deflection en route to the goal.
Irish Hockey Trophy, round two: Kilkenny 1 (D O’Gorman) Suttonians 0; Dublin University 3 Weston 2, after extra time
Postponed: Armagh vs Campbellians; Portadown vs Bangor; Queen’s Uni vs Newry; South Antrim vs Rathgar Chiefs
** Draw for round 3 of Men’s and Electric Ireland Irish Hockey trophy will be on Monday 3rd December at IHA HQ.