Leinster Men’s Indoor League final
Railway Union 5 (Mark English 2, Rob Abbott, David McCarthy, Kenny Carroll) Three Rock Rovers 1 (Peter McConnell)
Quite aptly, Railway Union captain Rob Abbott was the man to raise the Tony Byrne Cup at St Columba’s as his side put in a controlled performance to win the Leinster indoor league final 5-1 over Three Rock Rovers.
This season, after the IHA returned the running of the indoor competitions to the provinces, no one has done more than Abbott to get the league up and running.
While only three sides competed in the national competition a year ago, the reformed Leinster league had five teams enter this year – with commitments from others to return to action next year – playing over the course of six weekends at St Columba’s, drawing sponsorship from Gilmour Sports.
Abbott ran the league and provided comprehensive round-ups for The Hook in addition to playing, proving one of Railway’s key forwards.
The win helped the Park Avenue’s cosmpolitan outfit, featuring English, Spanish, Australian, German, Polish and Irish players, to their third Leinster title won in 2005 and 2006, adding to the two national crowns won in 2013 and 2014.
Player of the tournament Mark English started the scoring from the penalty spot after Kenny Carroll’s corner hit David Storey on the line. Both Simon Thornton and Stephen Dawson made excellent saves thereafter with the former’s double stop from Nacho Segui and Storey preluding Railway’s second goal with Abbott getting on the end of an attack down the left.
Peter McConnell pulled one back from Rovers’ first corner but David McCarthy squeezed home another almost instantly for a 3-1 half-time lead.
The start of the second half was cagey with both sides employing a half-court setup, protecting the middle ground with neither side able to breakthrough for 15 minutes.
When Railway did, it was the killer blow as English retrieved a Dawson save and looped an audacious lob over the goalkeeper from the right of the circle that landed perfectly just inside the far post.
Carroll whipped home a corner for 5-1 to complete the victory. Railway will now hope for the IHA to step back from their decision to award Queen’s University the national title without playing a final. The Dublin 4 side are bound for Rotterdam for their fifth European indoor tilt in February.
Earlier in the evening, Rovers won their semi-final against Avoca 6-2 with five second half goals doing the damage. Cain Cooney was on the mark a couple of times to help Clontarf finish fourth ahead of Wicklow.
Railway Union: S Thornton, K Carroll, R Abbott, D McCarthy, N Wilmshofer, M Villar, R Forrest, K King, M English, J Dick, M Nowakowski
Three Rock Rovers: S Dawson, P McConnell, B McCrea, J Hosking, R Canning, D Storey, H Morris, D Shirley, N Segui, B Epstein
Umpires: Simon O’Connor, Geoff Conn
Player of the Tournament: Mark English (Railway Union)
Top Goalscorer: Cain Cooney (Clontarf)