Rovers’ double wins see them top of men’s EYHL

Men’s EY Hockey League – day 15 round-up
Monkstown 8 (D Carson 2, A Ward, L Cole, S Hyland, K Lynch, K Smith, S Cole) UCD 1 (J Duncan)
Monkstown’s charge back into the playoff continued apace with a second big win over UCD in 2017 – the other coming in the Irish Senior Cup semi-final – as they hit the front in the third minute and never looked back. Davy Carson intercepted an aerial clearance before firing home a fiercely struck reverse-stick shot. UCD did earn four corners in that opening period but David Fitzgerald fronted up well in his first EYHL game of the season.

The returning Andrew Ward made it 2-0 in the 20th minute before Stephen Cole added a stroke three minutes later for 3-0. UCD got a lifeline via Jeremy Duncan from a corner rebound but trailed 3-1 at the break. And the game was put to bed in the third quarter from a Karl Smith corner rebound and a Lee Cole finish at the back post following a flowing move.

Banbridge’s Fraser Mills scored a 60th minute winner for Banbridge. Pic: Adrian Boehm

With UCD suffering two yellow cards in the closing quarter, Monkstown added more pain with further goals for Karl Lynch, Sam Hyland and Carson’s second.

Railway Union 6 (K Springett 2, M English 2, A O’Callaghan, R Forrest) Instonians 0
Railway Union moved back out of the relegation playoff place with a 6-0 win over Instonians, a result that moves them up to eighth while Inst drop seven points away from safety. Mark English put them 1-0 up at Park Avenue in the first quarter before Kieran Springett added a second with a corner drag-flick.

English exchanged passes with Fergal Keaveney before banging home the third goal for a 3-0 half-time lead. Adam O’Callaghan and Richard Forrest scored in quick succession for a five-goal lead and Springett completed a vital win for the Sanymount side.

Cork C of I 1 (J Dale) Banbridge 2 (F Mills, D Ward)
Fraser Mills’ close range winner 10 minutes from time saw Banbridge retain their two-point lead at the top of the men’s EY Hockey League after 14 games, winning 2-1 at Garryduff in front of a large crowd.

The visitors got off to a flying start when with barely a minute on the clock Dane Ward pounced on a loose ball to score past Billy Lynch. Shrew Power had the chance for a quick equaliser but, with Gareth Lennox beaten, he somehow managed to find the side netting.

CI started the second quarter on the front foot and took the game to the visitors who were happy to sit back and soak up the pressure. In the 21st minute, however, the hosts were awarded a penalty corner which saw Julian Dale’s flick beat Lennox via a deflection off a man on the line, 1-1 at half-time.

The third quarter proved a quiet affair, setting up a big finish with both sides needing victory for their respective plights. The key moment came in the 60th minute with some quick interplay setting up Mills to tuck away the winner – C of I argued for a free on halfway when they believed they right of way in the build-up but their complaints fell on deaf ears.

The Cork side did push on in the closing phases with Philip Brownlow, Philip Sweetnam and Stephen Sweetnam making lung-bursting runs up front as they worked for an equaliser. But two cards for dissent stymied their progress, reducing them to nine players. They did have a series of four corners at the end but Lennox made a match-winning save from David Hobbs to claim the laurels from a cracking game.

Pembroke 3 (H Spain, K Shimmins, A Sothern) Three Rock Rovers 4 (B Walker, J Walker, L Madeley, C Empey)
Three Rock snatched a controversial late win to extend their winning run to seven games in the EYHL, keeping them within two points overnight of leaders Banbridge.

They looked to be well set for the win when they built a 3-0 lead in the opening 19 minutes before Pembroke roared back into the tie before Luke Madeley’s corner won the tie.

James Walker profited from an early mistake to score from play before Conor Empey added the second from a corner. Ben Walker added the third from play to have Rovers in great shape. Pembroke, though, got back into the tie via Harry Spain’s goal from a corner switch as the hosts belatedly picked up their game.

Rovers had a couple of corners to no avail before Pembroke snatched a second before the break, again from a set piece, with Kirk Shimmins on hand to push over the line.

Luke Madeley scored a controversial late winner for Three Rock Rovers. Pic: Adrian Boehm

The second half was similarly open and played at a high speed, bypassing midfield regularly despite Shimmins being the most influential player. Pembroke drew level in the 46th minute when Spain drove forward and his long, accurate pass to Sothern was picked up on the edge and smashed in off Jamie Carr’s pads.

For Rovers, they settled with Madeley and Jody Hosking impressing along with Harry Morris further up the pitch. There were plenty of openings for more goals but nothing clear-cut until the final minute when Pembroke were caught in possession, leading to a hotly contested corner with a Rovers playing getting a green card in the process but no change in decision. The final whistle blew and Madeley fired home to grab all three points.

Lisnagarvey 4 (J Lorimer 2, M Nelson, N Glassey) Glenanne 0
James Lorimer’s double under-pinned a 4-0 win for Lisnagarvey that keeps them well in the mix for the EY Champions Trophy playoff places and an outside sniff of top spot. They end the weekend in third place but four points off leaders Three Rock Rovers.

Glenanne started the stronger and won a corner in the 3rd minute. Another corner was won a minute later but both were well saved by James Milliken. Garvey scored against the run of play in the 8th minute after a fine run by Matthew Nelson down the right-hand side resulted in a goal for James Lorimer. Two further chances for Glenanne in the quarter were well dealt with by James Milliken in the Garvey goal.

It settled Garvey who started the second quarter stronger. And, in the 21st minute, Andy Wiliamson crossed for Matthew Nelson to score. They were denied a further goal from a short corner variation deflected by Matthew Nelson which was well saved by a Glenanne defender on the line.

Lisnagarvey continued their dominance and another fine team goal following a pinpoint pass by Nelson to Neal Glassey on the right hand side of the circle, saw the latter score with aplomb into the roof of the net. A further short corner for Garvey was converted by James Lorimer high to make it 4-0.

Sunday: Instonians 1 (Z McCelland) Three Rock Rovers 4 (M Darling 2, B Walker, C Empey)
Three Rock moved top of the men’s EY Hockey League on Sunday as Mitch Darling’s pair of goals helped them to a 4-1 win over basement side Instonians. Should they win next week at home against Railway Union, they will extend their lead to four points with Banbridge not playing in the league due to their Irish Senior Cup final against Monkstown next Sunday.

** Further details to be added as I receive them

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