EuroHockey Indoor Club Champions Challenge I
Railway Union retained Ireland’s place in the EuroHockey Indoor Club Champions Challenge I when they snatched two late goals against Hungary’s Soroksari in Rotterdam this morning.
The Sandymount club missed out on a top four finish when they were undone 9-4 by Slovakia’s SK Senkvice on Saturday morning. It left them in the relegation pool and duly recorded a 4-4 draw against Cardiff which meant that a draw against Soroksari would keep them up.
They trailed 6-5 with 90 seconds to go but showed true determination to whip the game around in dramatic style with Kenny Carroll and Rob Abbott grabbing late goals to win out.
On Saturday morning, Senkvice showed their intent early on, winning a penalty corner in the first minute which Boris Petrakovic converted for the first of his hattrick.
The Slovakians went further ahead when Kovaceric netted while Rob Abbott got his side on the board getting a tap in after good approach work by Richie Forrest and Mateus Nowakowski.
But Senkvice pushed on to lead 5-1 at half-time which they extended through Adrian Augustinic catching Railway on the break and then Petrakovic getting his second from a penalty corner.
There was then an exchange of scores Miguel Villar finishing a nice Railway move into the roof of the net before Senkvice immediately replied with another corner score through captain Matus Parajka.
Nic Wimshoefer then scored Railway’s goal of the match, sliding in to tip home after Fiachra Maher had broken out of defence. But they never got in range and the game was all but over when Kenny Carroll took yellow following a heavy collision with a Senkvice player and Petrakovic scored his third.
It put the Dubliners into the relegation pool, needing to avoid the bottom two rungs of the table to stay up. Their 5-4 win against Lipovci, though, carried over to give them a boost and they duly shared the spoils against Welsh champions Cardiff & Met.
They did it the hard way. Cardiff were first to open the scoring going into a 3-0 lead in the first seven minutes with captain Rhys Gowman finishing in the first minute.
Railway mounted a number of attacks but were unable to find the net, while Railway goalkeeper Simon Thornton was also kept busy at the other end.
In the 7th minute Cardiff scored twice in quick succession with Dale Hutchinson and Dan Kyriakides scoring on the counter. Railway managed to get on the score sheet in the next minute when Nic Wilmshoefer scored a sliding goal. Carroll had a corner drag taken off the line but the score remained 1-3 in Cardiff’s favour at half time.
Railway reduced the deficit early in the second half when Miguel Villar scored following a good run by Mark English. Carroll equalised from Railway’s 3rd corner and it was game on.
While Railway had the best chances in the remainder of the game it wasn’t until the last minute that they went ahead when Rob Abbott tipped in following good work by Villar and English.
But Cardiff took their goalie off and equalised seconds later, Gowman on the scoresheet again.
With Lipovci beating Soroksari, it meant the Hungarians were relegated going into the match with Railway who needed a draw to stay up while even a losing bonus point could have done them.
And they got off to a good start in what turned out to be a ding-dong battle with Carroll scoring a first minute corner. Bailut Langer equalised before Mark English and Mark Tapai exchanged goals for 2-2 after 13 minutes.
Carroll’s second corner returned Railway to the lead for a third time only for Langer to tie things up before Wilmshoefer was shown yellow and the Hungarians pushed on to swap the lead the for the first time via Langer and Tapai.
It was level for a fourth time when Carroll completed his hat trick but Langer did likewise to end the first half 5-4 in Soroksari’s favour.
The second half was more circumspect, taking nine minutes for the next goal to arrive with the returned Wilmshoefer from a nice team move. Soroksari, though, got back in front with three minutes to go when Sebastian Leber made It 6-5.
Soroksari’s Tamas Suba, though, took yellow for the last two minutes and Railway took full advantage. Carroll’s fourth corner tied the game at six each with 90 seconds left before Abbott got on the end of English’s cross to snatch the win.
They did concede a final second corner but Soroksari shot wide to give Railway the chance of finishing fifth overall.
After the tournament, coach Paul O’Brien expressed his relief saying: “It was a nervy game which kept the spectators entertained. If Railway had converted all the chances they created it would have made it a much more comfortable match. However, we’re delighted to have retained Ireland’s status in this level of tournament”.
EuroHockey Indoor Club Champions Challenge I
Group B, Saturday: Rotterdam 4 HC Lipovci 3; Railway Union 4 (M English, K King, N Wilmshofer, R Abbott) SK Senkvice 9 (B Petrakovic 3, Z Kovaceric 2, M Parajka 2, D Petras, A Augsutinic)
Final standings: 1. Rotterdam 15pts (+12) 2. SK Senkvice 10pts (+2) 3. Railway Union 5pts (-10) 4. HC Lipovci 3pts (-4)
Pool D: Railway Union 4 (N Wilmshofer, M Villar, K Carroll, R Abbott) Cardiff & Met (Wales) 4 (R Gowman 2, D Hutchinson, D Kyrakides)
Standings: 1. Cardiff 7pts (+5) 2. Railway Union 7pts (+1) 3. HC Lipovci 5pts (+4) 4. Soroksari 0pts (-10)
Sunday: Railway Union 7 (K Carroll 4, M English, N Wilmshofer, R Abbott) Soroksari 6 (B Langer 3, Tapai 2, S Leber)
Standings: 1. Railway Union 12pts (+2) 2. Cardiff & Met 9pts (+5) 3. Lipovci 8pts (+4) 4. Soroksari 1pt (-11)