Watt powers Lisnagarvey to seven-point lead over Monkstown

Men’s EY Hockey League – day 10 round-up
Cork C of I 1 (P Sweetnam) Glenanne 6 (S Boucher 4, D Keogh, G Shaw)

Shannon Boucher added another four goals to his massive haul of 21 already this season as his devastating corner flicking saw the Glens ease to victory in Cork.

His hat-trick came inside the first 17 minutes, all from set pieces, an the results was never in doubt after that point. It was some turnaround from the initial meeting of the sides when John Jermyn’s corner prowess won the game for C of I in Tallaght.

Sam O’Connor’s mazy run drew the first corner on 10 minutes when he was halted by a mis-timed Philip Smith tackle that also incurred a 10-minute yellow card. Boucher duly netted and added another one two minutes later.

Two minutes into the second quarter, he again found the backboard with a hard flick. C of I got back into the match when a fine break down the right got the ball to Philip Sweetnam whose high shot deflected into the top corner. But such hopes of a comeback were short-lived a minute before half time when Boucher’s stick was hooked when shooting for goal and David Keogh put away the resulting penalty stroke.

C of I dominated the third quarter and had five good chances spurned with Glenanne’s goalkeeper Lukasz Domachowski somehow keeping out chances from Stephen Sweetnam, Julian Dale, Alex Burns and Philip Sweetnam. He also saved two corners, one with his head, before Glenanne broke quickly and three passes later Shannon Boucher was at hand to score his fourth and Glenanne’s fifth.

The hosts continued to press and Glenanne continued to absorb the attacks until the 51st minute when, following another break from defence, Gary Shaw was on hand to score a rebound from a Boucher shot. The result lifts Glenanne to fourth place.

Banbridge 4 (E Magee 2, S Dowds, O Magee) Railway Union 2 (J Dick, S McKeever)

Banbridge produced a stunning second half comeback to get a modicum of revenge over Railway Union had ousted the Co Down club from the Irish Senior Cup earlier this season.

Railway had led 2-0 very early on, an advantage they held until half-time, before Bann battled back to secure their fifth win of the season, closing the gap to second placed Monkstown. Simon McKeever got Railway off to a lightning start, scoring on the reverse from mid-circle. James Dick doubled the lead with a close range tap-in.

Bann came more into the game in the second quarter and started to boss possession and territory. They created several good scoring opportunities but were unable to find a way past Stephen O’Keefe in the visitor’s goal who was inspired throughout.

Following a stern half time team talk Bann started the third quarter in determined fashion. Once again, they pressed Railway into defending deeper and deeper. They finally breached the visitor’s defence when Owen Magee was on hand to slam home a penalty corner rebound. Much of the home teams attacks started with Matthew Bell who had a composed performance at the centre of the home defence. Bann then turned the game on its head in the closing quarter, scoring three times without reply.

Eugene Magee levelled the scores with a high flick from a penalty corner. This was quickly followed by a penalty stroke from Stephen Dowds which he had won himself from a blistering run down the right flank. The scoring was completed two minutes from time when Eugene Magee smashed home a reverse from a penalty corner variation.

Peter Caruth battles with Richard Arneill for the ball. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Peter Caruth battles with Richard Arneill for the ball. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Monkstown 0 Lisnagarvey 1 (Mikey Watt)

Mikey Watt’s 39th minute goal saw Lisnagarvey claim a crucial 1-0 win over Monkstown, building a significant seven-point lead at the top of the table after ten rounds of matches in the men’s EY Hockey League.

Indeed, the top two sides produced a high quality match in which the pace never relented. Paul Gleghorne and Jonny Bell were excellent at the back for Garvey to deny Monkstown’s much vaunted frontline.

The first chance after six minutes came via Peter Caruth who picked up a loose ball and was instantly chopped for a short corner. Town’s switch was not smooth and a weak shot was easily saved. Garvey, meanwhile, drove at Monkstown’s defence with Watt, Neal Glassey and Daniel Buser lively but their snap crosses were flashing across the D with nobody on the end. Lee Cole tackled well with Richard Sykes marshalling the defence as it stayed scoreless in the first half.

The decisive moment came in the second half when a loose, bobbled overhead by the Monkstown defence never became airborne and was picked up by the lively Watt. He played a neat one-two with Timmy Cockram on the 23-metre line before he raced in the right hand channel of the circle and fired a low shot past Dave Fitzgerald.

With both sides enduring sin-binnings, Jonny Bruton’s tantalising cross somehow evaded a glut of players waiting for the tip in while a diagonal ball to Gareth Watkins earned a corner which Sykes dragged on to the cross-bar.

On 52 minutes, Geoff Cole was shown yellow but Monkstown continue to press without creating any clear cut chances as Garvey’s defence remained rock solid. With 55 minutes gone Monkstown remove their goalie but Garvey’s half court press stifled most attacks and they held on for their eighth win in succession.

Three Rock Rovers 2 (R Canning, L Madeley) Annadale 3 (M Crookshanks, M Allister, J Cox)

Annadale raided Grange Road for their first win of their EY Hockey League campaign, coming back from a 2-1 deficit to grab the win with Matthew Allister’s late goal.

It lifts Andy Smyth’s side off the bottom of the table for the first time since November and gives them hope of escaping the relegation zone. James Cox found the roof of the net from a corner to give Dale the lead in the first half but Luke Madeley’s high drag-flick tied things up at 1-1 at the big break.

Lee Cole lines up a shot. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Lee Cole lines up a shot. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Ross Canning’s finish gave Rovers the lead but Matthew Crookshanks, an Irish Under-18 trialist who impressed throughout, tied the game up for a second time. Allister then got in front of Jamie Carr to guide home the winning goal in the closing minutes.

Pembroke 3 (K Shimmins, J Ryan, A Sothern) Cookstown 2 (J Ames, A McWhirter)

Alan Sothern and Mark Ingram were the Pembroke heroes as they grabbed a crucial win to avoid the immediate danger of becoming involved in a prolonged relegation scrap. Sothern scored the winner while Ingram saved a late penalty stroke to record their third win of the campaign, putting six points between them and ninth placed Annadale at the end of the weekend’s action.

Pembroke were quick out of the blocks, winning a corner in the first minute while Patrick Good went close with Ian Hughes making his first save of the game.

They went in front in the 28th minute when Kirk Shimmins, from six yards out, reversed the ball into the goal. In reply, Cookstown won their first corner but it was turned onto the post by Ingram.

The Co Tyrone side started the second half with a flurry of corners. Andrew McWhirter turned in a switch move for 1-1 during this spell of control but they fell behind somewhat out of the blue when Jack Ryan scored a superb individual goal on the 40th minute.

He came in on the end line on Hughes’s left before pulling away from goal, evading the goalkeeper and reversing into the roof of the net. But nerves abounded in the closing quarter and, with Andrew Barbour and Karl Lynch serving yellow card sin-bins, Cookstown got back level at 2-2.

Amid a spell of corners, Jon Ames equalised before Sothern put Pembroke ahead for a third time. With just four minutes left, a Cookstown corner hit a foot on the line leading to a stroke. Ingram dived right to save the effort from Timmy Sloan to save.

More Cookstown corners followed but none were able to best the Pembroke keeper and runners and, much to their relief, the final whistle sounded and a relieved Pembroke took their first three points in five games.

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