Gleghorne snatches Garvey win from the embers as men’s EY top four still covered by two points

Men’s EY Hockey League – day 12 round-up
Lisnagarvey 5 (Matthew Nelson 2, James Lorimer, Timmy Cockram, Paul Gleghorne) Pembroke Wanderers 4 (Alan Sothern 3, David Quinn)

Lisnagarvey prevailed in a nine-goal thriller that showcased the best of the EYHL at Comber Road, with quality goals and attacking play abounding as the hosts successfully recovered a 4-2 deficit.

The hosts’ Matthew Nelson set the ball rolling with an audacious and unusual goal of the season contender as a deflected cross from the right looped high towards him at the back post. Backpedalling quickly, the recently-capped Irish international executed a tennis-style, one-handed overhead smash to score.

Despite Garvey building well from there, Pembroke turned the game on its head with a pair of goals in as many minutes. Waterford man David Quinn’s diving shot found the roof of the net before Alan Sothern’s reverse nestled in the corner.

Garvey claimed an equaliser when a corner won by Andy Williamson was dispatched by James Lorimer on 22 minutes, but Pembroke’s slick counter-attacking saw them work the ball to Sothern at the back post for a 3-2 half-time lead.

Sothern underlined his status as one of Ireland’s most lethal finishers with another well-taken goal to put his side two goals to the good, but Nelson halved the deficit with a skilful deflection over Mark Ingram from one of Garvey’s four penalty corners in the third quarter.

Timmy Cockram’s drag levelled it with 12 minutes left and from their 11th penalty corner, Garvey found a winner in the dying minutes as Paul Gleghorne’s far post deflection broke Pembroke’s defences.

UCD 1 (Ben McCrea) Cork C of I 3 (Stephen Sweetnam 2, Philip Sweetnam)
A trio of ruthless counter-attacks in the third quarter gave Cork C of I all three points from their visit to Belfield to keep the squeeze on the top two. A tame first half saw little in the way of goalmouth action with the hosts mostly in charge.

But C of I sprung into life after the break, catching the students on the break twice in quick succession with Philip Sweetnam and Stephen Sweetnam being left with the simplest of jobs at the back post.

Stephen Sweetnam deflected home C of I’s third as the game opened up thereafter, but UCD have come back from the dead numerous times this season and withdrew their keeper to force the issue. They could only manage a late consolation as Ben McCrea found the bottom corner, and they are now in danger of being drawn into a relegation dogfight having failed to win since November 5.

Glenanne 1 (Shane O’Donoghue) Three Rock Rovers 3 (Jody Hosking, Luke Madeley, Mitch Darling)
Three Rock’s charge into title contention continues as they again played perfect counter-attacking hockey to leave with all three points in Tallaght. After Glens had monopolised possession in the first quarter, Rovers knocked them for six in the second.

A quick free from Jody Hosking allowed him space to enter the circle and arrow a reverse-stick strike to the backboard, before Luke Madeley stepped around the first runner at a short corner and improvised a low drag-flick for their second.

Olympian Shane O’Donoghue was finding his range from a couple of Glenanne set-pieces and eventually found a way past Jamie Carr to give Glens a lifeline in the third quarter, but Mitch Darling capitalised on poor defending at the other end to beat Leo Micklem with a flicked effort.

Rovers shipped three yellow cards in the final quarter amid a big defensive effort as Glens dinged the post and tested Carr on multiple occasions, but they couldn’t find a way back into the game.

Banbridge’s Jonny McKee netted a hat trick. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Instonians 0 Banbridge 6 (Johnny McKee 3, Bruce McCandless 2, Eugene Magee)
In-form Banbridge were untroubled by Ulster rivals Instonians as they did their goal difference no harm to keep their place at the top of the table.

Jonny McKee’s fourth-minute reverse got the ball rolling and Bruce McCandless had them cruising in the 17th minute, finishing well after Inst had given the ball away in their own half.

Bann raided the endline for McCandless’ second before half-time while McKee completed his hat-trick with a pair of goals four minutes apart in the third quarter. Eugene Magee finished the rout with a penalty corner strike two minutes from time. The visitors are level with Lisnagarvey at the top of the standings on 26 points, but have a game in hand.

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