Pool A all to play for after Garvey’s late show; Bann and Town through in Pool B

Men’s Irish Hockey League
Pool A

Four teams in Pool A remain in with a shout of reaching the semi-finals following a dramatic fourth day in the Irish Hockey League with nothing clear-cut.

Indeed, Lisnagarvey’s 3-1 win over Three Rock Rovers has given their hopes a real shot in the arm. The sides were level at half-time at Comber Road with Rovers making much of the running in the third quarter as

But Garvey finished the tie much the stronger while Rovers endured three sin-binnings – the tie ended nine versus eight – and got in front with 16 minutes to go when Timmy Cockram laid up for Daniel Buser to score.

Cork C of I's Simon Wolfe holds off UCD's Conor Motyer Pic: Adrian Boehm

Cork C of I’s Simon Wolfe holds off UCD’s Conor Motyer Pic: Adrian Boehm

Jonathan Bell then closed out the result, importantly denying Rovers a losing bonus point, with a rasping effort in the last three minutes. It lifts Garvey up to second in the pool behind Pembroke. 

They won  5-2 against Cork Harlequins to make if four wins from four but they can still be denied a semi-final berth by Rovers next weekend if they lose by two goals or more.

All the Pembroke goals came between the 21st and 46th minute as they tore into a 5-0 lead. Simon McKeever got the first of the day on the reverse before Mossie Elliott got on the end of a chance on the back post for 2-0. Conor Harte’s corner goal against his former club made it three goals in five minutes while Alan Sothern’s first of the day lengthened the lead out to 4-0 at half-time.

The striker added his second before before Dan Hobbs and John Hobbs both got consolation goals back for Quins in the last ten minutes.

Cookstown, meanwhile, have a chance of reaching the final four following their 5-2 win over Instonians. They raced into an early 2-0 lead with goals from Andy Barbour and Raymond Miller while Simon Todd moved the lead out to three. James Corry got one back when he ran unmarked through the Cookstown circle before placing past Iain Hughes for 3-1 at half-time.

The Co Tyrone hosts strengthened their position via Stuart Smyth with two goals in the second half despite conceding an own goal.

Results: Lisnagarvey 3 (A Williamson, D Buser, J Bell) Three Rock Rovers 1 (P Blakeney); Pembroke 5 (A Sothern 2, S McKeever, M Elliott, C Harte) Cork Harlequins 2 (J Hobbs, D Hobbs); Cookstown 5 (E Butler 2, S Smyth, S Todd, R Miller) Instonians 2 (J Corry, own goal)
Standings: 1. Pembroke 16pts (+6) 2. Lisnagarvey 13pts (+6) 3. Three Rock Rovers 12pts (+11) 4. Cookstown 10pts (+7) 5. Instonians 2pts (-7) 6. Cork Harlequins 0pts (-23)

Pool B
Banbridge and Monkstown confirmed their places in the semi-finals of the Irish Hockey League as they both secured fourth successive wins in Pool B over the weekend in relatively comfortable style.

Davy Carson’s hat trick under-pinned Monkstown’s win in a stunning 9-3 result against Dublin rivals Corinthian at a Whitechurch Park venue they sometimes struggle at.

Initially, that trend looked set to continue as a flurry of early goals saw the game locked at 2-2 after 20 minutes. Carson’s second goal, though, put Town back in front and they scarcely looked back. 

A peach of a backhand shot from Peter Caruth combined with goals from David Nolan and Gareth Watkins made it 6-2 with ten minutes to go. The reds got one back but three goals in the closing two minutes well and truly confirmed Monkstown’s place in the semi-finals.

For Banbridge, Stevie Dowds excellent hat trick saw them ease past Annadale 4-0 yesterday, confirming they will advance and play hosts to the finals weekend in two weekends’ time.

UCD, meanwhile, were 2-0 winners over Cork C of I on Saturday in their first ever home Irish Hockey League tie. The first half was played in competitive fashion and it was 0-0 at half time. In the second, UCD were able to pull away with goals from Ross Canning and Shane O’Donoghue.

Overnight, it kept them mathematically in the hunt to progress but that avenue was shut down by Banbridge. Nonetheless,

Results: Corinthian 3 (I Stewart 2, R McKenna) Monkstown 9 (D Carson 3, P Caruth 2, J Henry, G Watkins, D Nolan, A Ewington, own goal) ; UCD 2 (R Canning, S O’Donoghue) Cork C of I 0l Annadale 0 Banbridge 4 (S Dowds 3, F Mills)
Standings: 1. Monkstown 16pts (+19) 2. Banbridge 16pts (+17) 3. UCD 8pts (-1) 4. Cork C of I 4pts (-10) 5. Corinthian 2pts (-12) 6. Annadale 2pts (-9)

Irish Hockey Trophy, semi-final: Bandon 3 (A Smith 3) Clontarf 1 (J Lennon); Portadown vs Newry, postponed

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