Bann and Three Rock end week 17 level at top of EYHL

Men’s EY Hockey League – day 17 round-up
Banbridge 3 (E Magee, D Ward, B McCandless) UCD 2 (J Duncan, A Meates)

Banbridge survived a late scare to continue their title push that was fired up in midweek by a 3-0 win over Lisnagarvey. For the most part they held sway against UCD but were never able to fully shake off their challenge.

Bann dominated the first quarter having taken the lead after 30 seconds through Eugene Magee who unleashed a thunderbolt into the roof of the net from the right of the circle. UCD defended deep and restricted Bann to just a couple of half chances.

Quarter two took on a similar appearance to the first with Bann dominating possession and territory. Again, they failed to create any openings of note in the UCD circle but did eventually extend their when Jamie Wright weaved his way past a couple of defenders to set up Dane Ward with a tap in with a disguised pass.

After the big break, the students dominated the game in the third quarter with Jeremy Duncan prominent in all that was good in their play. The students scored midway through the quarter when Andrew Meates was able to force the ball past Gareth Lennox after the keeper had made a good save.

Bann opened the final quarter the stronger although they had to be mindful of the pace of the UCD counter-attacks. The home team extended their lead when Peter Brown’s skill in the circle set up a diving Bruce McCandless to score.

UCD were not finished and ensured the Bann supporters had a nervy final couple of minutes when Duncan scored from close in. Bann managed to hold out to secure the three points vital for their league campaign.

Cork C of I 0 Three Rock Rovers 3 (M Darling, C Empey, J Walker)
Three Rock Rovers came away from Cork with three goals and three points to keep the pressure on Banbridge at the top of the EY Hockey League, recording their 10th win in succession. The first quarter took its time to get going with only a couple of half chances to report. For C of I, David Harvey and Alec Moffett made some impressive runs down the right but only one short corner was gained and it was put wide.

With the clock at 17 minutes and 20 seconds, Three Rock made a break down the left and Kevin Mullins’ cross found Mitch Darling free on the right post to tap in. Rovers turned up the pressure in the second quarter and both Luke Madeley and Jody Hosking forced good saves from Billy Lynch.

C of I made a few breaks but Three Rock’s defence of Ravin Nair, Garry Ringwood and Madeley were untroubled whereas, at the other end, Hosking in particular was a constant threat. Three Rock kept up the pressure in the third quarter with Darling to the fore with Ross Canning, James Walker and Harry Morris all stretching the home defence.

Alex Burns and David Lynch made some relieving runs for C of I. but one short corner was their only reward. They continued to defend admirably with fine saving tackles by Richard Lynch and Richard Sweetnam but, in the 64th minute, Three Rock got their second corner of the match. Madeley’s drag was blocked down but Conor Empey was first to react and he hit an unstoppable shot into the C of I net.

Three minutes later, Darling stole the ball in midfield and sent a pass to Walker in the D who scored with another unstoppable blast.

Glenanne 2 (E O’Malley, S Ronan) Monkstown 1 (D Carson)
Stu Ronan’s late goal saw Glenanne get the best of Monkstown for the second time in the last three weeks to rubber-stamp their place in the EY Hockey Legaue for next season, denting Town’s playoff hopes. On a very dry day in Tallaght, Town were missing a couple of their starters with Stephen Cole employed at centre back. The Glens were on top for first quarter without any clear chances for either team, the hosts one corner not stopped.

Monkstown came into more in the second quarter and it was more even but they fell behind from a free in the right corner. Stephen Brownlow passed it to Gary Shaw who turned, put it across the goal on a 45 angle towards the back post where Eddie O’Malley got an excellent reverse touch into the top corner. Glenanne also had a two on one chance when O’Malley robbed Jason Lynch and played in Shaw who drew the last defender and squared back to O’Malley but he could not convert.

Monkstown’s Kyle Good and Instonians’ James Corry battle for the ball on Sunday. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Monkstown produced a stronger third quarter while the Glens were dangerous on the counter but half chances brought no goals to keep it a 1-0. The visitors, though, did get back on terms with 10 minutes to go when the in-form Davy Carson got on the end of a goalmouth scramble, forcing home from a yard.

But with two minutes to go, Glenanne scored on the counter when Sam O’Connor made a huge tackle on Carson on the edge of his own D. He played to Shane O’Donoghue who applied a quick one-two with Shaw, creating a three on one. O’Donoghue passed to O’Malley on the left of the D and he first time slapped across to Ronan arriving at the back post for the winner.

Instonians 0 Lisnagarvey 10 (A Williamson 2, R Arneill 2, M Robson, M McNellis, T Cockram, P Gleghorne, M Nelson, S Arbuthnot)
Instonians’ relegation was confirmed with a harrowing 10-0 loss to Ulster rivals Lisnagarvey who powered into a 5-0 first quarter lead that meant this was never really a contest.

Michael Robson – back from injury – started the scoring in the second minute before a pair of Andy Williamson goals made it 3-0 by the 13th minute. Mark McNellis and Paul Gleghorne made it 5-0 at the first break before Matthew Nelson and Richard Arneill made it 7-0 at half-time. Timmy Cockram, Stevie Arbuthnot and Arneill added further goals in the last 10 minutes to complete the rout for the Champions Trophy-bound Garvey.

Railway Union 4 (M English 2, K Springett, S McKeever) Pembroke 5 (A Sothern 4, W Brownlow)
Alan Sothern – the men’s EY Hockey League’s top scorer – scored four times in a Sandymount derby goal-fest of nine goals and eight cards, handing Pembroke their seventh win of the season. There was a lot at stake for Railway as they seek an eightth place finish to avoid the relegation playoff and they started with intent, winning a corner which was cleared by Pembroke.

It was Pembroke, however, who got the early goals, Sothern scoring the first of 4 goals off Pembroke’s first corner in the fourth minute with a high drag flick. Donal O’Mearain took an early green card for Railway and Pembroke went further ahead when Wesley Brownlow’s shot went through a number of players in the circle and into the goal. Railway reduced the deficit from their second corner won by Rob Devlin with Kieran Springett putting away a drag flick.

Railway equalised early in the second quarter when Richie Forrest played a through ball to Mark English who cracked a shot into the goal past Mark Ingram. Pembroke were soon back in the lead when Alan Sothern scored his second goal from a corner, this time with a low drag.

The hosts were reduced to 10 players again when Adam O’Callaghan received a green card and Stephen O’Keeffe in the Railway goal was called upon to make a number of saves. Patrick Good of Pembroke saw yellow before half time and while Pembroke were down to 10, English scored the goal of the game with a cheeky lob over Mark Ingram to bring the scores level at 3-3 at half time.

Early in the 2nd half Simon McKeever put Railway 4-3 ahead for the first time against his former club when he deflected a ball past the keeper. But Railway were again reduced to 10 when Kenny Carroll saw yellow.

Then a miscued free out saw Jack Ryan latch on to the ball only to be upended by the Railway keeper. Sothern scored from the penalty spot to get his hat trick and bring the scores level once more. Railway were reduced to 9 for part of this quarter when first O’Callaghan and then Mattie Nowakowski both took yellow cards.

Instonians Peter Bingham attempts to keep out a Monkstown chance. Pic: Adrian Boehm

They played defensively for the remainder of the quarter Stephen O’Keefe in the Railway goal preventing further Pembroke scores. Into the closing stages, the green and yellows saw a corner shot taken off the line by Paudie Carley early in the last quarter.

Next to go for them was Mark English and O’Mearain became the fifth Railway player to see yellow in the closing quarter. Both teams were looking for a winner but it was Pembroke who prevailed when Sothern again scored from a corner to put Pembroke 5-4 ahead with five minutes to go.

Railway took off their goal keeper and Pembroke were unable to take advantage despite having a number of corners and goal scoring chances with O’Callaghan making one spectacular diving save across the goal line.

Banbridge 1 (E Magee) Glenanne 1 (S O’Donoghue)
Banbridge came from a goal down to grab a point that draws them level with Three Rock Rovers on 42 points going into the final round of the men’s EY Hockey League, setting up a pivotal last day of the season.

Shane O’Donoghue gave the visiting Glens – who secured their EYHL place a day earlier – the lead in the ninth minute. Peter Brown went close to levelling but saw his shot taken off the line while a couple of corners were exchanged before the end of the first quarter.

Bann pressed on in the second quarter but could not find the composure required to get back on terms as the visitors defended their narrow lead well. But seven minutes into the second half the Havelock Park side did get their leveller when Eugene Magee finished off following a turnover in midfield.

They went close to getting in front early in the final quarter when Stephen Brownlow saved brilliantly off the line before Glenanne made the final push for the win but honours were ultimately shared. Banbridge now look forward to their tie with Railway Union on April 22 with a six-goal advantage on goal difference over Three Rock Rovers who play Instonians.

Monkstown 3 (D Carson, K Good, G Cole) Instonians 1 (J Corry)
Monkstown moved back into the top four of the men’s EY Hockey League after a long absence as their 3-1 win over already relegated Instonians saw them move ahead of Cork C of I on goal difference with a game in hand.

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