After 32 years, Monkstown were finally celebrating their first Leinster senior league title since 1982 in Tallaght as they dramatically came from 2-0 down to deny potential party poopers Glenanne.
The sky-blues ended up as 4-2 winners in their final league tie thanks to Andy Ewington and Davy Carson’s goals in the closing 12 minutes to eventually see them home.
It put them out of reach of long-time leaders Three Rock Rovers and ticked off the last title they have been waiting for following an epic run of results.
Last season, they won their first national title in 99 years by annexing the Irish Senior Cup and subsequently the Irish Hockey League. Mills and Neville Cups had also been won in the past three seasons but the Leinster league remained out of reach until late last evening despite a couple of near misses.
The family connection was in full effect with 1982 winning brothers Gordon and Trevor Watkins along with Gordon Horsfield on the sidelines watching their sons succeed.
After Glenanne had raced into a 2-0 lead inside ten minutes, though, it looked possible that Town may be denied once more. However, Gareth Watkins got them back in the game before Ewington netted the first of his penalty corner double to level matter at the break.
The powerful New Zealander was pivotal to his side’s Mills and Irish Senior Cup wins a year ago and he again put himself into the hero role when he fired Town ahead for the first time with just 12 minutes to go. Carson added some late garnish to spark the celebrations in earnest.
It rendered Three Rock’s 3-2 win over YMCA as moot. It’s significance now could be in helping Rovers achieve second place in the Leinster league. They need a point from remaining games against Rathgar and Glenanne.
In the race for top five places, UCD confirmed they will be in the elite league next term following a draw against rivals Railway Union on Saturday with Shane O’Donoghue providing a moment of magic to tie 1-1. A subsequent 3-0 win over Rathgar on Sunday with Ross Canning nabbing a brace got the over the line with a game to go in their season.
For Railway, that Saturday draw lengthened their odds of achieving their target but they did pick up a derby win over Pembroke. Rob Abbott and Thomas Brits were on the mark to make it 2-0 before Alan Sothern got one back but no equaliser was forthcoming. The Union are back into fifth place with one game left against Rathgar but they could be out of those places by Thursday when Glenanne take on UCD.
Leinster Division One
Saturday: UCD 1 (S O’Donoghue) Railway Union 1 (T Brits)
Sunday: Glenanne 2 (C Kennedy 2) Monkstown 4 (A Ewington 2, D Carson, G Watkins); YMCA 2 (R Pedreschi 2) Three Rock Rovers 3 (J Hosking, J Bruton, M Darling); Railway Union 2 (R Abbott, T Brits) Pembroke 1 (A Sothern); Rathgar 0 UCD 3 (Ross Canning 2, Sam Butler)
** Videos taken by Alwyn Robinson; you can also see more his photos from the game by clicking here
** Declan Hughes from Dublin City FM interviewed Rory O’Donoghue and Rob Abbott in the wake of UCD and Railway Union’s 1-1 draw on Saturday in men’s Leinster division one