Dale ends C of I’s winless streak in style; playoff race still no clearer

Men’s EY Hockey League – day 16 round-up
Cork C of I 2 (J Jermyn, J Dale) Banbridge 1 (S Dowds)

A moment of Julian Dale inspiration finally ended Cork C of I’s six-month wait for a victory in the EY Hockey League, going a long way in their bid to avoid the drop as they beat Banbridge 2-1 at Garryduff.

A cagey opening half ended scoreless with Stephen Sweetnam testing Gareth Lennox before Bann stepped up to dominate possession. Four penalty corners went incomplete with Billy Lynch, John Jermyn and Philly Smith all taking efforts off the line.Stephen Dowds put Bann 1-0 up in the 33rd minute from a stroke after yet another corner hit a body on the line. It awoke C of I with Jermyn making an impact in midfield, especially with his link-up play with Philip Sweetnam.

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Jermyn fired home a drag-flick in the dying moments of the third quarter to set up the final stanza, one which was thrill-a-minute. Dowds was brilliantly denied on the line by Jermyn before Sweetnam saw his deflected effort well saved by Gareth Lennox.

And, with two minutes to go, C of I had the winner in memorable fashion. Jermyn robbed the ball off Brad Logan on the 23m line and, on the run, launched a huge overhead behind the last defender. Julian Dale caught it at the height of its bounce to tip over the giant Lennox and walked the ball in for 2-1. The win gives C of I a three point buffer over Cookstown in ninth place and five points over Annadale with two games to go.

Railway Union 3 (M English 2, E MacArthur) Annadale 3 (M Robson 2, J Cox)
For the second time this season, Railway Union and Annadale shared a high-scoring draw, a result that does not overly help their respective ambitions at this stage of the campaign.

The Park Avenue hosts swept into a 2-0 lead in the first quarter as Eoin MacArthur’s corner deflection and a deft Mark English reverse-stick finish put them in great shape. But, in a heated second quarter, Dale got one back from the penalty spot after Stephen O’Keeffe felled an attacker and Michael Robson dispatched low and hard. Then, following a series of penalty corners, James Cox slotted the equaliser to make it 2-2 at the big break.
In the third quarter, Eddie Dore, Matthew Crookshanks and Matthew Allister all spent time in the sin-bin while English got the only goal with a corner drag-flick for 3-2.

Dale fought back once more as their key man, Robson, saw his first up effort blocked but it was only half-cleared and, from his knees, he evened things up. It proved the last scoring act in a lively encounter.

Three Rock Rovers 1 (F Morris) Pembroke 1 (J Lynch)

Honours even in the Dublin derby, a result that keeps both sides in the mix for the fourth EYHL playoff place but also saw them miss the chance to make a big impression on the other teams around them. Fred Morris opened the scoring in the first few minutes when his slightly miscued shot, off the back of Luke Madeley’s incision, wrong-footed Mark Ingram. The goalkeeper was, otherwise, a key player for Pembroke in a scrappy game, marked by a lot of turnovers and miscontrols that scuppered any major momentum for either team.

Rovers held that lead until half-time but Pembroke got back on terms when Jason Lynch picked up the pieces from a rebound from a Jamie Carr save and slammed home with plenty of power. The hosts looked the more likely to take the points in the second half, regularly finding overloads of two and three on the last defender, even when short-handed down the closing stretch. But a lack of accuracy and good goalkeeping meant the likes of Morris and Conor Empey were denied from snatching a winner.

Rovers remain fourth, one point clear of Glenanne and two above Pembroke who stay in sixth place, two points back.

Lisnagarvey 5 (A Forrest 2, M Watt, M Nelson, J Lorimer) Glenanne 2 (S Boucher, D Keogh)

Lisnagarvey made it 14 wins in succession in the EY Hockey League, denting Glenanne’s pursuit of a Champions Trophy place. The hosts made a series of changes with James Milliken coming in for John Tormey, Mark McNellis stepping in at left back with Timmy Cockram rested and Jonny Bell starting on the bench.

Mikey Watt got them in front in the third minute when Neal Glassey made a sharp turn at the top of the circle and fed his Irish international team mate who shot low into the corner.

Shannon Boucher equalised with a drag-flick but, within 20 seconds, Sean Murray fed Matthew Nelson who tapped home at the back post for 2-1. Andy Forrest made it 3-1 in the 13th minute as his miscued shot squirmed over the line.

The Glens were back in the mix when Boucher’s pace ended with a shot that Milliken saved but, from the follow-up attack, a stroke was won. David Keogh converted to reduce the deficit. They carried a bit of that momentum into the second half before Garvey started to reassert their game. Andy Williamson procured a fine save from Lukasz Domachowski while the hosts produced one incredible spell of sustained ball control that ended with a Nelson chance.

Annadale's Chris Campbell takes on Railway's David McCarthy. Click image for more pics

Annadale’s Chris Campbell takes on Railway’s David McCarthy. Click image for more pics

The game was put to bed in the closing quarter. Forrest collected and turned on a Nelson pass to slot home for 4-2. James Lorimer then added a drag-flick to close out the win. The sole concern afterwards was a head injury to Bell that required some extensive strapping that may rule him out of the tie against Cookstown on Sunday.

Monkstown 2 (D Carson 2) Cookstown 1 (S Todd)
Monkstown formally got over the line to confirm their place in the EY Hockey League playoff places, edging out Cookstown thanks to two Davy Carson goals.

The sky blues made much of the early running without creating too many clear-cut chances with Gareth Watkins reversing straight at the keeper while Andrew McWhirter saw his effort well saved by David Fitzgerald.

Carson gave Town the lead in the 18th minute when he stabbed home a rebound from inches out for 1-0. They held that lead until half-time in spite of a Cookstown corner that was followed by a discarded Stephen Cole face-mask caught his brother Lee, leaving a nasty gash requiring a number of staples.

Four minutes into the second, Carson got his second when Andrew Ward controlled well on the left baseline and his timely cross was met by a sliding team mate to finish off. The same combination went close to a third moments later but the Co Tyrone side were back in it with 19 minutes to go. Cookstown worked the ball to the left of the D, found a foot but played an excellent advantage as Simon Todd shot home from a tight angle as the host defence hesitated.

Town upped the tempo in the final quarter, creating more chances but could not break past Ian Hughes. Cookstown, meanwhile, could not take advantage when the hosts were reduced to nine men for a pair of cards. No matter, Monkstown are through to the playoffs where they will be involved in a second versus third semi-final.

Cookstown still have work to do with results from elsewhere seeing them within range of Annadale and three points shy of Cork C of I.

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