Men’s Irish Hockey League
Five sides still have a chance of making it through following the third game day of Pool A of the men’s Irish Hockey League with Cookstown’s surprise draw at Monkstown catching the eye.
Jon Ames’ deflection put the Co Tyrone side ahead on half-time but Richard Sykes nailed his 12th goal of the season with nine minutes to go to earn the draw.
The Co Tyrone side took the game to the Rathdown hosts from the start and drew some early stops from Jamie Carr, standing in for David Fitzgerald who has a back injury.
Peter Caurth, however, was returning after a lenghty spell out of action with an injured foot. As time pressed on, Monkstown started to create their main chances but found Ian Hughes in top form.
He denied Davy Carson on the spin while another effort was cleared off the line. But the half’s definining moment came in the final minute when Ames was picked out at the near post to turn home.
Cookstown subsequently hit the left hand post from another corner and they held the hosts at bay. Hughes kept out Stephen Cole with another top stop as well as Carson and Sykes but the pressure eventually told when the drag-flicker pushed low and true.
Carr then kept the two points in tact with a top save to his right. It leaves Monkstown fourth and Cookstown fifth and puts extra pressure on the former’s back match with Pembroke.
That is because the Serpentine Avenue side outclassed tournament newcomers UCC 6-1. Karl Lynch put them in front on 12 minutes from the penalty spot after Mick O’Connor was felled
Matthias Podpera put Pembroke two up from a corner. Fionn O’Leary pulled one back in the third quarter but the hosts duly raced ahead as Podpera scored again from Pembroke’s seventh corner.
Cillian Hynes added another couple while Tim Hill also chipped in for a comprehensive win.
Instonians, meanwhile, moved above Annadale in the table and level with Pembroke at the top of the table.
Pool A results: Monkstown 1 (R Sykes) Cookstown 1 (J Ames); Pembroke 6 (M Podpera 2, C Hynes 2, K Lynch, T Hill) UCC 1 (F O’Leary); Instonians 2 (J Watson, M Irwin) Annadale 1 (W Edgar)
Banbridge’s 4-4 tie with Lisnagarvey on Saturday evening at Havelock Park has left an intriguing three-way shoot-out in Pool B of the men’s Irish Hockey League.
It was the first tie Bann had missed out on victory in 15 games this term, a result that sees both sides in a share of second place behind Three Rock Rovers in the chase for the two semi-final berths.
For Bann, Stevie Dowds (twice), Matthew Bell and Bruce McCandless were all on the mark, returning from Irish international duty in confident mood, but the vastly experienced Stevie Arbuthnot and Timmy Cockram helped annul those efforts in tandem with Andy Williamson and Sean Murray.
It leaves the two leading Ulster clubs locked on 10 points after three games with Rovers on 12 after they dispatched UCD 5-1. Rovers were 3-0 up at half-time and while Shane Madeley pulled one back, Rovers killed off the tie with final quarter efforts from Jonny Bruton and Ross Canning.
Canning had popped home the first goal early on with a penalty corner effort before Jody Hosking produced a brilliant second goal, roofing from a narrow angle wide on the right of the circle.
Bruton then brilliantly thrashed home a backhand shot from a powerful run to complete the first half scoring. Madeley fizzed a powerful drag-flick past his former team mates to give UCD a lifeline.
But it disappeared when Canning finished off an excellent team move and Bruton volleyed home another chance to make it 5-1.
Railway produced amazing final quarter comeback to record their first win of the campaign, beating Cork C of I 3-2 in Garryduff.
Philip Sweetnam’s tap in made it 1-0 in the first quarter before John Jermyn converted a low drag-flick. Railway upped the ante in the second half with Billy Lynch in top form to deny Simon Pearson while Craig Ellis kept out Stephen Parker, Simon Wolfe and Alex Burns.
Railway’s frustrations continued when Rob Abbott’s penalty stroke was denied by Lynch but James Dick, back after a lengthy spell out, picked off a poor C of I hit out and score in the 60th minute.
Two minutes later, Mark English grabbed a deflected corner and Abbott got an almost identical deflection in the 67th minute to steal the win.
Pool B results: Cork C of I 2 (P Sweetnam, J Jermyn) Railway Union 3 (J Dick, M English, R Abbott); Three Rock Rovers 5 (R Canning 2, J Bruton 2, J Hosking) UCD 1 (S Madeley); Banbridge 4 (S Dowds 2, M Bell, B McCandless) Lisnagarvey 4 (T Cockram, S Arbuthnot, S Murray, A Williamson)