Garvey see off Rovers’ ambush as Cookstown close gap to C of I

Men’s EY Hockey League – week 12 round-up
Three Rock Rovers 3 (R Canning, J Walker, L Madeley) Lisnagarvey 4 (P Gleghorne, N Glassey, P Ritchie, T Cockram)
Lisnagarvey survived a fourth quarter fright to keep their incredible winning streak going, stretching out their run to ten successive victories in the men’s EY Hockey League. It puts them one win away from confirming an EY Champions Trophy place and nine points clear overall.

They looked to be cruising with 11 minutes to go as Paul Gleghorne, Neal Glassey and a close range bundled effort from Andy Williamson had them 3-0 as Rovers were under the cosh for long periods.

But two goals in a minute from Rovers changed the complexion of the tie and Jody Hosking’s rasping reverse shaved the outside of the post for what would have been an unlikely equaliser soon after.

In the end, Timmy Cockram’s coolly taken back post finish carried the day as Luke Madeley’s drag-flick with three minutes to go proved too late in the day. In the first three quarters, Garvey were the dominant force, penning Rovers in their own 23m zone for long periods with Sean Murray keeping things ticking in midfield.

They hit the front inside a minute of the first whistle via Gleghorne from a corner. The visitors were two up midway through the second quarter when the former Mossley man produced some gorgeous 3D skills from turnover ball, cutting through the middle and bouncing it past Jamie Carr. Ritchie’s effort looked to have the game done and dusted in the 36th minute.

Rovers, though, emerged from their shell, attacking with real purpose in the closing quarter. Canning got them on the board with 11 minutes to go from a narrow angle.

Peter Lynch’s run then created the second for Walker to eventually nick the final touch past John Tormey to reduce the gap to 3-2. Hosking then went inches wide for what could have been the leveller with nine minutes to go.

Garvey settled and picked off their winner through Cockram with three minutes to go and while Madeley replied instantly, a late Garvey corner took the sting out of any potential comeback.

Banbridge 1 (E Magee) Monkstown 1 (G Watkins)
Banbridge and Monkstown drew for the second time this season, a result that does not overly help either side’s respective ambitions. For Bann, they remain in third place but were unable to take advantage of Three Rock’s loss to Lisnagarvey.

Lisnagarvey's Neal Glassey applies a delightful touch to make it 2-0. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Lisnagarvey’s Neal Glassey applies a delightful touch to make it 2-0. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Monkstown, meanwhile, lost further ground to Garvey and will now probably be looking primarily at building toward the EY Champions Trophy playoffs rather than the regular season crown. The opening quarter of a high tempo match ended scoreless with Bann on top, Peter Brown pulling the strings in midfield. Bruce McCandless’s great run down the right picked off a defender’s foot but the corner came to nothing.

In reply in the second quarter, Peter Caruth was looking dangerous and had a few opportunities but the Bann defence held firm, Jake Rowe impressing at right back while Matthew Bell had to make a couple of key interventions to keep it scoreless at half-time.

Bann upped the pressure in the third quarter with Stevie Dowds’ shot deflecting just wide while Hugh McShane, Eugene Magee and Dowds drew corners. Dowds saw a double-effort blocked away but the next set piece was slipped to Magee. While his first shot was saved, he dispatched the rebound on his reverse for 1-0.

But the lead lasted precious little time. Sam Farson was shown a yellow card and Monkstown soon won a stroke which Gareth Watkins came off the bench to score. It set up a lively final quarter with Bann pushing hard for a winner but Monkstown held out for the draw.

Glenanne 2 (G Shaw, S Boucher) Pembroke Wanderers 3 (A Sothern 2, J Ryan)
Pembroke’s fine recent form saw them pick off a third win from four games in all competitions to see them move up to seventh place in the table and remain five points clear of the relegation playoff.

It came in fortuitous fashion as Jack Ryan’s slip pass was turned into the Glens’ net by back-tracking Stephen Brownlow passed Lukasz Domachowski four minutes from the end.

Glenanne were quickest out of the blocks, controlling much of the possession and fashioned an opening with a slick move that saw Shannon Boucher receive deep in the left hand corner. An accurate pass to the top of the circle allowed Gary Shaw to break free and dispatch a thunderbolt past Mark Ingram.

Pembroke got more into the game in the second quarter and, from their half-court press, counter attacked with purpose, eventually yielding a penalty corner. Up stepped Alan Sothern to dispatch a strong flick beneath Domachowski for 1-1 at half-time.

Timmy Cockram gets a crucial fourth goal for Lisnagarvey. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Timmy Cockram gets a crucial fourth goal for Lisnagarvey. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Sothern then put his side in front from the penalty spot in the second half. Ironically, it was from a Glenanne attack by Sam O’Connor down the left that was turned over with Pembroke breaking with speed a chasing back.

O’Connor went to ground and left the umpire with little option but to award a penalty flick. Up stepped Sothern to put Pembroke into the lead. A feature of the second half was a number of cards that saw a number of players binned from both sides.

Into the final quarter, Glenanne pushed to force an equaliser but due to poor discipline lost two players to the bin. With an uphill struggle, Glenanne’s nine players  managed to force a corner and at the second time of asking, drew level with Boucher firing in a powerful drag flick.

However, it was Pembroke who prevailed when Glenanne were caught short at the back and a slip pass inside was unfortunately knocked past the big Polish keeper by a retreating Brownlow.

Cookstown 2 (M Crooks, J Ames) Annadale 1 (R McGuire)
Jon Ames’s 48th minute winner has given Cookstown a huge boost in their bid to avoid the drop from the EY Hockey League, making it two wins in succession for the Co Tyrone side, moving them above Annadale.

After a quiet first quarter with both teams tentative going forward, Cookstown burst into life 30 seconds into the second quarter as Mark Crooks opened the scoring. Smashing work from Paul Thompson down the right hand side opened up the Annadale defence for Crooks to score.

The remainder of the half was played amid a colossal midfield battle between the two 23m lines while David Smyth saw time in the sin-bin for a mistimed tackles on Ames just befor the half-time whistle.

Peter Lynch attempts to evade a Jonny Bell tackle. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Peter Lynch attempts to evade a Jonny Bell tackle. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Annadale made the early raids in the third quarter, winning a corner that was brilliantly defended by Ames. A Cookstown break, meanwhile, won a corner of their own which Johnny Moore did well to keep out from a Ryan Millar flick.

It left the tie poised at 1-0 going into the final quarter. Michael Robson was shown a yellow card for dissent during the break for the final phase but, despite being down a man, Dale won a corner which Robbie McGuire deflected home from Matthew Allister’s low pass.

Parity lasted barely a minute, however, as Cookstown’s increased efforts saw them win a corner of their own. Ames scored to make it 2-1 after Greg Allen picked out his run.

Cookstown win another short corner thanks to great skills from Stuart Smyth but Annadale defended well to see off the danger but it did not matter in the final assessment. The win lifts Cookstown to nine points, three points shy of eighth place Cork C of I. They play Annadale for a second time next Saturday in a refixed match.

Cork C of I 1 (D Harvey) Railway Union 2 (E MacArthur, J Dick)
Railway Union won their first men’s EYHL tie in four outings to jump up to sixth place in the table and give themselves a buffer back to the relegation playoff place.

All the action came in the third quarter after a dull first half saw scarcely two shots in anger, Billy Lynch having two touches while Stephen O’Keeffe was largely inactive in the first half hour.

Goals from Eoin MacArthur and James Dick gave Railway the edge in that third quarter with a stunning response coming from David Harvey to make it 2-1 going into the last 15 minutes. MacArthur’s impeccable reverse-stick shot broke the deadlock in the 38th minute; three minutes later, Dick was on hand to deflect in the second.

From C of I’s first incisive attack, Julian Dale picked out Harvey who fired past O’Keeffe. No further goals meant C of I are still waiting for their first win since October while Railway rise up a place.

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