EuroHockey Indoor Club Champions Challenge
Railway Union face a key battle with SK Senkvice on Saturday morning (12pm, Irish time) with the winner taking a semi-final spot from the EuroHockey Indoor Club Champions Challenge I in Rotterdam.
It follows a tough 10-4 opening loss to the tournament hosts before Kenny Carroll stole the show in game two against Slovenia’s HC Lipovci with his fourth goal earning a last minute win.Against Rotterdam, with Bjorn Kellerman and Timo Kranstauber fresh from winning World Cup gold with the Netherlands, Railway’s lack of high level competition showed against their experienced rivals.
They quickly found themselves 4-0 down as Kellerman netted twice while Bas Campbell and Thijs van Dam were also on the mark. Railway began to get the measure of them from there on, mounting sporadic attacks.
Miguel Villar scored Railway’s first goal from such a move. The second part of the first half was more even with both teams scoring a goal each – Rotterdam through Campbell again and Carroll for Railway from a low penalty corner drag flick.
Simon Thornton in the Railway goal did particularly well at the end of the half, making a number of crucial saves when Railway were down to 4 players, the half ending 5-2.
The statistics for the second half shows Railway had six corners to Rotterdam’s two but that Railway scored just twice to Rotterdam’s five. Mark English and Villar were on the mark but Campbell ended with four goals to his name as the lead extended to 10-4.
Speaking after the match, coach Paul O’Brien, said: “Once we adapted to the pace of Rotterdam, we got ourselves into the game and competed well.
“Their counter attacking game caught us in the second half and this is something we will be working on in our next matches.”
In game two, Carroll scored four to defeat the Slovienian champions, who had earlier lost 4-2 to SK Senkvice, in a nerve-shredder.
In a tentative opening half, Lipovci were first to score from the first penalty corner, one of three Mesarics, Martin, scoring their goal. Railway replied two minutes later, Carroll finding the net with a penalty corner drag.
Railway went ahead soon after when Richie Forrest dispossessed the Slovenians and scored into an empty net. However, the lead was short lived when Robert Mesaric scored from the Slovenians’ second corner, 2-2 at half-time.
Railway increased their lead in the second half when Carroll scored another corner. Lipovci equalised soon after when the third Mesaric, Dominck, scored a corner.
After a dramatic seris of corners in which tempers frayed, Carroll eventually got the Railway fourth from yet another flick. Lipovci pushed forward for the equaliser and were rewarded with their 4th goal when Martin Mesaric scored off a rebound when Simon Thornton had made the initial save.
The game was very tense in the last few minutes but Kenny Carroll broke the deadlock in the last minute surging forward from defence to score the winning goal.
EuroHockey Indoor Club Champions Challenge I
Group B: Railway Union 4 (M Villar 2, K Carroll, M English) Rotterdam 10 (B Campbell 4, B Kellerman 3, T van Dam, J Bakker, H Turkstra); SK Senkvice 4 HC Lipovci 2; Railway Union 5 (K Carroll 4, R Forrest) HC Lipovci 4 (M Mesaric 2, R Mesaric, D Mesaric); SK Senkvice 4 Rotterdam 9
Group B table: 1. Rotterdam 10pts (+11) 2. SK Senkvice 5pts (-3) 3. Railway Union 5pts (-5) 4. HC Lipovci 2pts (-3)