UCD second half salvo earns promotion as Cookstown go down

Men’s EY Hockey League promotion/relegation playoff
UCD 2 (J Duncan, D Nolan) Cookstown 1 (S Todd)

Second half set piece goals from Jeremy Duncan and David Nolan sent UCD into the dreamland of the EY Hockey League as they earned promotion in Havelock Park with a 2-1 win over Cookstown whom they replace in the top tier.

Simon Todd’s goal set the base for a possible comeback but the students kept out a last minute corner to hold on to their victory and they duly celebrated wildly as Cookstown collapsed in a heap.

There was precious little between the sides as Cookstown made some fine early thrusts while UCD drew the best from the superb Ian Hughes with a diving stop at corner time.

Glenn Morrow was required to clear off the line from Mark Crooks’ jinking run that slipped under Stephen Dawson that ensured it was 0-0 at the break.

UCD grew more and more into the tie, playing with a bit more swagger with each attack. They went 1-0 up when Duncan ramped in a corner in the 42nd minute and their cause was aided when Andrew McWhirter got a yellow for a heavy tackle.

They penned Cookstown back for long periods. When the Co Tyrone side did break, they got stung a second time as Duncan raced clear from halfway, beating the last two defenders before laying off to Jazze Henry. His shot hit Mattie Rollins on the thigh and Nolan converted from the penalty spot for 2-0.

Within a minute, Simon Todd repied with a thunderbolt reverse – that made it 2-1 with 12 minutes to go. Cookstown pushed on but Greg Allen could only lift his half-chance over the bar.

The final corner was charged down and UCD move on up with Instonians while Cookstown and Annadale drop out of the EYHL for 2016/17.

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