Garvey close in quickly on European place

Men’s EY Hockey League round-up
Annadale 2 (J Cox, M Crookshanks) Glenanne 0

Annadale produced a superb defensive performance to earn a vital three points as they continue to fight for survival in the men’s EY Hockey League. The result moves them level with Cookstown on 10 points, closing the gap to Cork C of I in eighth place.

The Glens had plenty of chances but the league’s top scorer Shannon Boucher had a rare off day from penalty corners as the Tallaght side lost for the third game in a row. He had the first chance but was unable to connect from an early opening. From Annadale’s first penalty corner, James Cox’s shot was stopped on the line by a Glenanne foot. Cox then converted from the resultant penalty stroke in the fourth minute.

Boucher saw his first corner drag-flick blocked by Cox in the ninth minute while Eddie O’Malley’s deflection flashed past the post. Sam O’Connor brilliant right-wing run ended with a cross which just eluded the onrushing attackers.

Cox, David Smyth and Jonny Moore stood strong in defence for Annadale while Peter McKibbin, in an unaccustomed midfield role, was energetic in Annadale’s rare attacks. A superb Robbie McGuire run from his own half led to a penalty corner which was well saved by Lukasz Domachowski as Dale went in at half-time 1-0 up.

Early in the second half, Boucher fired a low push wide. Moore then saved brilliantly from O’Malley’s goal bound shot as the home team continued to soak up the Glenanne pressure. Moore closed out the third quarter with two outstanding double saves from consecutive corners.

Against the run of play, Annadale increased their lead in the 47th minute when, after good work from Adam McAllister, Matthew Crookshanks fired home from close range. In the face of a stream of attacks, Dale held on for this key win.

Lisnagarvey 3 (S Murray, T Cockram, M Nelson) Cork C of I 2 (J Jermyn, P Sweetnam)
Lisnagarvey extended their lead to 11-points at the top of the men’s EY Hockey League to move within touching distance of the regular season title and a European spot.

They trailed at half-time to a John Jermyn corner goal but raced back into the lead with Sean Murray, Timmy Cockram and Matthew Nelson turning the tide. Garvey – who were without Mikey Watt, Neal Glassey and Andy Williamson – had the first major chance with Jonny Bell cutting in from the right before crashing a tomahwak off the crossbar.

But C of I countered with a good press and won a corner that Jermyn dragged low past John Tormey for the opening goal. They retained that advantage to the break with a solid defensive effort with few chances of note falling Garvey’s way.

Indeed, the Cork side went close to extending the lead when Jermyn fired another corner into the roof of the net from a corner but the effort was disallowed. Garvey’s equaliser came in the 37th minute when Peter MacDonnell dribbled through the visitor’s defence before squaring to Sean Murray to tap in the equaliser.

Early in the fourth quarter, a James Lorimer overhead found Daniel Buser who held the ball up and fed Timmy Cockram who slapped across Billy Lynch for the lead. C of I equalised in the 54th minute via Philip Sweetnam off the back of a quickly taken long corner after Jermyn’s corner flick was saved off the line by Lorimer.

But, within 60 seconds, Garvey retook the lead when Matthew Nelson reacted quickest to a loose ball in the circle and the ball dribbled past the stranded Lynch with five minutes to go.

Pembroke's Kirk Shimmins and Banbridge's Eugene Magee. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Pembroke’s Kirk Shimmins and Banbridge’s Eugene Magee. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Monkstown 1 (G Sarratt) Three Rock Rovers 1 (D Walsh)
Monkstown and Three Rock Rovers drew for the second time this season in another low-scoring, closely contested battle at the Merrion Fleet Arena. Town were withouth the injured Kyle Good and Richard Sykes while David Cole was absent due to exams for the tie.

Jonny Bruton, against his former club, went close in the eighth minute when he latched on to Nick Dee’s overheard in the eighth minute while Jody Hosking had Rovers best first quarter chance when he took a quick attacking free. He drove left from a quick free but his shot was well saved by David Fitzgerald. The second half was similarly close with both sides suffering green card suspensions for over-eager tackles. Bruton’s diagonal ball picked out Karl Smith but his shot never generated enough power and bobbled wide.

Monkstown started the second half with more intensity with Peter Caruth lashing a half chance over and Lee Cole and Stephen Cole controlling a lot of possession. However, on 35 minutes, a defensive lapse left Ross Canning open but, again, his shot was well saved by Fitzgerald

The hosts took the lead in the 37th minute when Davy Carson received the ball on the left side of the D and his cross-come-shot found Guy Sarratt on the far post. His first effort was parried by Carr but he coolly lifted the rebound into the roof of the net for the first score.

Rovers equalised in the 48th minute from an attack down the left. As Monkstown’s defence paused, the visitors took advantage and Daragh Walsh’s shot across the circle took a defensive stick to deflect in just inside the far post.
Town did have a corner chance with two minutes to go – just the second of the game – but the drag was comfortably saved by Jamie Carr to leave it at a point each.

Pembroke 2 (A Sothern 2) Banbridge 2 (S Dowds 2)
Pembroke nudged a point closer to safety but they were within a couple of minutes of all three before Stevie Dowds fired home a late corner to earn Banbridge a share of the spoils.

Pembroke started brightly and good interplay between Alan Sothern and Jason Lynch was closed down and cleared by the Bann defence. Gradually, Bann worked their way into the game and, from a corner in the 10th minute, Dowds fired his side in front. Sothern equalised in similar fashion in the second quarter after Karl Lynch’s break down the right and good work from Sothern won the corner. The play was fast and furious but the scores did not advance further before half-time.

Early in the third quarter, Eugene Magee ran at the Pembroke defence and a stray Spain foot led to a corner which Ingram did well to save. Sothern was, again, the fulcrum of the Pembroke attack at the far end and, from Andrew Shekleton’s square pass, he beat a covering defender and took the ball onto his open side before beating the keeper from the edge of the circle.

It gave them a 2-1 lead going into the final quarter. Bann were making much of the running at this stage with Pembroke existing on the counter. Ingram saved a corner while Scott Sullivan went close to extending the lead.

In the 55th minute, a further break by Sothern led to a corner but the drag flick was pulled wide. Bann substituted their goalkeeper and in the 58th minute and won a final corner. Dowds repeated the corner trick to equalise at 2-2.

Alan Sothern tries to grab a goal for Pembroke. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Alan Sothern tries to grab a goal for Pembroke. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Railway Union 6 (M English 3, J Dick 2, S McKeever) Cookstown 3 (R Millar 2, G Allen)
Mark English’s hat trick played a big role in Railway Union’s impressive 6-3 win over Cookstown to move the Park Avenue side back into the top half of the table. It was the second high-scoring win of the season for David Bane’s side over the Co Tyrone outfit, having won 7-3 earlier in the campaign.

Simon McKeever opened the scoring in the first minute when he finished off Eoin MacArthur’s great touch. James Dick deflected in Mateusz Nowakowski’s cross for the second for a 2-0 quarter-time lead. Dick then went solo, weaving through a couple of tackles, before setting up English for his third goal. Ryan Millar got one back from a straight strike at a corner to reduce the gap to 3-1 at half-time.

Greg Allen got another back to get Cookstown back into range but English’s corner drag put Railway out of range once again. He hit the post soon after before landing his hat trick. Dick nabbed his second for 6-2 before Cookstown closed out the scoring.

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