Cookstown land Anderson Cup for fifth time

Cookstown ended their productive season by claiming their fifth Anderson Cup title with a dominant performance at Havelock Park on Tuesday night, beating Kilkeel 5-2.

The match was also noteworthy as it saw Keith Black equal Andy Barbour and Ewan Butler’s record of 13 senior trophies with the club. Greg Allen’s remarkable goal-scoring exploits this year saw him hit his 50th of the season during the game.

Cookstown’s Greg Allen lifts the Anderson Cup

“It’s great to have got to that total this season, particularly in our last game,” Allen said after the match. “It’s one to remember, but it really is all about the team. We work hard for each other and it has paid off for us this year in the goal-scoring stakes.

“The final was a really exciting game both for us and for the crowd. As always, Kilkeel fought hard and never gave up and I can only commend them for their efforts. They give us a game every time we play them.

“Bringing more silverware back to Steelweld Park is the perfect way to bring this year to a close. I’d like to pay tribute to my teammates and the coaches for their efforts at this time, and thank them for a thoroughly successful and enjoyable season.

“We will take some time now to relax and enjoy the summer before gearing up for pre-season and our return to the EY Hockey League.”

Kilkeel started at a great pace and put the Reds under pressure early on. The Mourne men were unlucky not to take the lead as they had a number of crosses flash past the post just asking to be deflected home.

Cookstown, however, slowly began to take control and made Kilkeel pay for their lack of accuracy when Allen beat a defender and slotted home his half-century goal of the year.

The hockey started to flow from the Tyrone team thereafter and soon they opened up Kilkeel again. Paul Thompson swapped a one-two with Allen before smashing the ball into the circle where the hard-working Ryan Millar met it at a dive, steering the ball into the top corner.

Kilkeel came roaring back into the game and had Cookstown camped inside their own circle until the half-time hooter. They won a short corner with time up but Thompson was on hand to clear a goal-bound flick off the line to keep it 2-0.

Cookstown continued the second half in fine fashion, moving the ball quickly and getting men forward. Their third goal came through Jon Ames after Allen found him from a short corner.

Kilkeel hit back and Mark Stevenson finished from the penalty spot. At 3-1 Kilkeel had to commit men forward and were punished through a fantastic Ames goal. The play of the match started as Ames worked a one-two with Keith Black before playing another one-two with Michael Kerr on the baseline and then finished with a strong slap hit.

Kilkeel had nothing to lose and pushed forward resulting in the award of a penalty corner. Stevenson finished through second phase.

With the score poised at 4-2 with eight minutes to go, Kilkeel went all or nothing and withdrew their ‘keeper to bring on another outfield player. This tactic backfired as the Reds won a penalty corner with Stuart Smyth finding the back of the net from a drag flick.

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