Men’s EY Hockey League – day nine reports
Railway Union 2 (Mark English, James Dick) Lisnagarvey 3 (Timmy Cockram 2, Andy Forrest)
Timmy Cockram’s goal in dead time saw Lisnagarvey salvage their eighth win from nine outings to retain their four-point lead at the top of the men’s EY Hockey League.
They were made to work all the way, though, by Railway Union at Park Avenue who fought back brilliantly from a two-goal deficit only to be stung at the last.
Garvey came out of the blocks flying, over-lapping at pace and using the overhead pass to great effect. The first chance was taken by Timmy Cockram who took advantage of a high ball that deflected off Kenny Carroll’s stick neatly into his path to fire home an upright reverse-stick shot.
The second came when a wily Andy Forrest nicked the ball off Ravin Nair and rounded Stephen O’Keeffe for 2-0. Railway came back into the game with Mark English to the fore in the second quarter before they made their move in the third quarter.
Fergal Keaveney and English’s one-two opened the door for the latter to find the corner with a shot on the bounce. Railway then equalised from a penalty corner, one that English initially saw saved but he worked the rebound to James Dick who took control and tapped home.
It set up an epic closing quarter and a grandstand last 90 seconds. Firstly, Railway saw a Nick Tate corner go high and wide. A counter shortly afterwards led to a ball being arrowed across goal and hit a foot right on the final whistle. Garvey took the chance with Cockram roofing his drag-flick for 3-2.
Garvey hold a four-point lead going into the New Year while Railway dropped to seventh place in the standings.
Glenanne 3 (Shannon Boucher 2, Stu Ronan) Banbridge 3 (Eugene Magee 2, Josh Moffett)
Eugene Magee rescued a point for Banbridge at Glenanne Park after a thrilling, aggressive battle between two sides in the midst of the race for a playoff place.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Glens took the lead somewhat against the run of play when they forced a penalty corner. The push out was moved right to Gary Shaw who picked out Stu Ronan to finish smartly. The lead did not last long, though, with the Glens wrong-footed in defence, allowing Josh Moffett – back after a long spell out injured – to apply a smart overhead finish.
And the lead was swapped two minutes later when Bann created an opening on the right of the circle and the pull back was smartly finished by Eugene Magee, 2-1 at half-time.
The hosts bounced back with the wind behind them, gaining more possession and were rewarded when Shannon Boucher superbly converted a drag-flick high past Gareth Lennox’ right to level.
It meant it was anyone’s game in the closing quarter and the Glens hit the front for the second time. David Keogh robbed possession just outside the Bann circle and teed up Boucher for a sharp strike into the backboard.
With sin-binnings for Moffett, Stephen Dowds and Peter Brown, Glenanne looked to be well set to hang on for the win but a late corner chance saw Magee’s drag-flick deflect off the number one runner and leave goalkeeper Lukasz Domachowski helpless.
The Glens end the pre-Christmas period in fifth place having been bottom after three rounds of matches, losing just once since. Banbridge are third, ending the first half of the campaign with four draws in their last five games.
Annadale 2 (Paul MacDonnell) Monkstown 5 (Peter Caruth 3, Richard Sykes, John Guilfoyle)
Peter Caruth returned to haunt his former club on his first visit to play at Lough Moss in five years, netting a hat trick in a comfortable win for second placed Monkstown.
He struck within the first ten minutes when he slammed home a corner rebound and then produced a brilliant snap-shot from the edge of the circle for the second. Richard Sykes made it 3-0 before the end of the first quarter with a low drag-flick to the bottom corner.
Annadale, missing the experience of David Smyth and Chris Jackson, came back into the game in the second quarter with Michael Robson creating their first major chance, saved by David Fitzgerald. Monkstown countered, however, and John Guilfoyle’s reverse-stick shot for 4-0 and his first senior goal with 22 minutes gone.
Caruth completed his hat-trick from a well-taken corner variation in the third quarter before Annadale rallied in the closing phase. They cut the deficit with goals from Paul MacDonnell and Matthew Allister but will go into the Christmas break knowing they have work to do to close the gap to safety, sitting on just two points.
Cork C of I 1 (John Jermyn) Pembroke 1 (Ronan Flannery)
Pembroke brought four former Cork C of I players to a misty Garryduff but there was to be no homecoming heroes as the sides played out an entertaining draw.
The first quarter had a number of chances at each end with Pembroke coming closest only for Richard Sweetnam to clear off the line with a brilliant diving save.
In the final minute, a David Hobbs free found a Pembroke foot in the circle and John Jermyn dispatched his tenth goal of the season from the resulting corner. They went close to doubling the lead when Adam Pritchard was forced to take one off the line while Pembroke keeper Mark Ingram made a great reflex save to keep the score unchanged.
Pembroke stepped up the pressure with a series of waves of attacks initiated by Jason and Karl Lynch. Justin Sherriff and Patrick Good had good chances while Harry Spain’s first penalty corner effort went just wide.
The Dubliners maintained their pressure until the 53rd minute and won their second corner which drew their equaliser – a clever, disguise-move tht Ronan Flannery dispatched.
C of I had the best of the closing minutes but Simon Wolfe, twice, and Hobbs saw their efforts go wide while a final corner from Jermyn was blocked. The hosts move up to sixth place as a result while Pembroke stay in eighth.
Cookstown 1 (Paul Thompson) Three Rock Rovers 2 (Fred Morris 2)
Fred Morris’s double, allied to a Jamie Carr penalty stroke save at the death, saw Three Rock Rovers finish the first half of the season with a 2-1 win over Cookstown to stay in fourth place in the men’s EY Hockey League.
It was a tighter affair than Rovers recent Irish Senior Cup win over the same opponents but the Rathfarnham side did take an early lead when Morris got on the end of a James Walker pass and slammed through Ian Hughes.
Hughes was the slightly busier of the two goalkeepers but his side did bounce back to level in the second half from a superb counter-attack move that ended with Paul Thompson sliding at the right post.
Morris grabbed the winner, though, in the closing quarter from another fine move as Mark Samuel charged down the right wing before picking out the striker who deflected home.
Carr then saved the stroke in the last ten minutes after a rough Rovers’ tackle to claim the three points.