Men’s EY Champions Trophy semi-final
Three Rock Rovers 3 (K Mullins, L Madeley, R Canning) Lisnagarvey 3 (T Cockram, D Nelson, A Williamson), TRR win 3-2 in shoot-out
Like Monkstown, Three Rock Rovers took the long route before eventually seeing off Lisnagarvey in a shoot-out, winning out 3-2 after they had let slip a strong lead in the dying minutes of normal time to draw 3-3.
Incredibly, just like the first semi-final, an equaliser came with exactly 43 seconds remaining as Andy Williamson rounded on a loose ball that popped to him at the edge of the circle. Taking it early, it left Jamie Carr little time to settle and thudded the backboard.
That sent a topsy-turvy tie to a shoot-out but Rovers scored their first three efforts via Jody Hosking, a peach from Daragh Walsh and Conor Empey while Jamie Carr kept out both Timmy Cockram and Daniel Buser.
When Michael Robson’s shot pinged off the post, it sent Rovers through to the final of the Irish Hockey League for the first time, their last triumph at this level coming in the last edition of the old club championships.
They had started superbly with Mitch Darling haring away from James Lorimer before laying off for Hosking. His crack at goal was turned in by Kevin Mullins for a third minute lead.
James Milliken denied them a second from another swift move, Ross Canning’s inside ball met by Harry Morris but was on it like a light to save. A minute later, Garvey were level when Timmy Cockram produced a sublime piece of baseline skill to spin around Carr and pot for 1-1.
Milliken then denied Darling’s powerful shot and Garvey shut down two corners to stay equal at the big break. The goalkeeper also kept out Canning’s revers early in the second half before the Hillsborough side enjoyed their best spell.
It culminated in a lovely piece of work on the left touchline from Daniel Buser and his pass was able to pick out Daniel Nelson who scrambled in for 2-1.
Early in the final quarter, Luke Madeley struck back with a corner drag for 2-2 in the 56th minute and Rovers were in front for a second time with four minutes to go from a stroke, awarded after four shots came from a corner with the last adjudged to have hit a body on the line. Canning converted.
Garvey roared back with Cockram missing a gilt-edged chance only for Williamson to earn the reprieve but Rovers prevailed for an all-Dublin final.