Garvey get the best of Town on men’s opening day

Men’s EY Hockey League – week one round-up
Saturday: Cookstown 2 (M Kerr, S Smyth) Pembroke 3 (A Sothern 2, C Mushiete)

Alan Sothern’s double strike saw Pembroke hold newly promoted Cookstown at bay at Steelweld Park with Belgian newcomer Cedric Mushiete’s goal also helping them land a 3-2 success.

The Dubliners were 2-0 up at half-time thanks to Sothern’s pair and while the Co Tyrone side fought back, Pembroke stayed just out of range.

The first goal came in the fifth minute. Harry Spain worked it wide to Richard Lynch whose reverse across the goal from the left-hand side was missed by everyone except player of the match Alan Sothern who smashed it into the bottom corner for 1-0. Cookstown did threaten but a lack of composure in the opposition 25′ really worked against them. At the other end they had Daniel Crooks to thank for many last ditch interventions.

Keith Black and Nick Burns swapped early opportunities in the second quarter before Cookstown goalkeeper Josh McCabe reacted well to a deflection from Sothern. Mushiete was excellent in the build-up to Pembroke’s second goal, showing great skills down the left to win a short corner. Sothern thumped home at the second attempt for 2-0.

While Pembroke had the majority of the first half, Cookstown powered back into it in the second half. Stu Smyth raced clear in the fourth minute to draw an all-important touch from Mark Ingram.

They got on the board when captain Jonny Ames made an important interception before picking out Smyth’s run. His cross broke to Michael Kerr whose squeeze-hit went over Ingram’s head for 2-1. Mark Rooney might’ve got another a minute later with a deflection from a cracking Ryan Millar pass.

But it was Pembroke who extended their lead with the goal of the day. Great interplay down left hand side opened up the Cookstown defence and Mushiete was pinpoint with a reverse half volley across face of goal into the bottom corner.

Pembroke’s Stephen Sweetnam finds his path blocked by Cookstown’s Paul Thompson. Pic: Alan Donnelly

Pembroke had a potential fourth goal chalked off in the third quarter before Cookstown threw everything at them in the closing stanza. With three minutes remaining, Ingram made a very impressive triple save to deny Smyth, Greg Allen and, finally, Mark Crooks. Smyth whipped home a drag-flick from a corner to make for a tense finish but Pembroke held out for all three points.

Railway Union 0 Banbridge 4 (J Wright, L Witherow, A Tinney, D Ward)
Banbridge got off to a confident start as they look to defend the EY Hockey League regular season title they won last term with a 4-0 win at Railway Union. They did so in spite of the absence of Jonny McKee and Eugene Magee who are both still out having sustained injuries in the summer.

Jamie Wright just a couple of minutes into the tie with a neat finish to set the tone and Bann made most of the early moves. Philip Brown saw a drag-flick charged down while Stephen O’Keeffe made a double save from another set piece in the opening quarter. Railway spurned their one corner chance from a rare break-out at Park Avenue.

Luke Witherow – on debut – doubled the advantage early in the second quarter with a sharp rebound chance, building a 2-0 lead that Bann held into half-time.

The third quarter followed a similar pattern with Alex Tinney – another recent arrival – eventually finding the finish with a powerful drive. Dane Ward, Sam Farson and Owen Magee all went close to further goals before Ward guided in a corner deflection to complete the win.

It was a confident start to the campaign in a week when Banbridge will travel out to Barcelona to play in EHL ROUND1.

Annadale 1 (P Caruth) Three Rock Rovers 7 (R Pautz 4, B Walker 2, R Canning)
Five second half goals saw EY Champions Trophy winners Three Rock Rovers put promoted Annadale to the sword after a reasonably tight first half at Strathearn School.

Richard Pautz – three minutes into his Rovers career – broke the deadlock for the Dubliners, the only goal of the opening quarter, firing home on his reverse. Rovers also hit the crossbar in this phase as their crisp passing penned Dale back.

Ross Canning made it 2-0 from the penalty spot when Jonny Moore was adjudged to have fouled an attacker. The hosts did grow into the tie with player-coach drawing a top stop from Conor Quinn in the 23rd minute and he made a couple of other decent stops before Caruth pulled one back before half-time following a left-wing attack that he had initiated.

But Rovers pulled away in the second half with Pautz scoring his second of the day from close range. Ben Walker nabbed another for 4-1 at three-quarter time. Walker added a fifth following another swift team move. Pautz completed his hat-trick on the hour mark and then scored a fourth from a corner rebound with three minutes to go.

Three Rock Rovers’ Mitch Darling on the attack against Annadale (click for more images)

Lisnagarvey 4 (M Nelson, J Corry, J Lorimer, A Williamson) Monkstown 2 (K Lynch, A Ward)
Two second half goals saw 2016 EY Hockey League champions Lisnagarvey score a significant opening win of the new season, seeing off last year’s Champions Trophy finalists 4-2 at Comber Road.

Karl Lynch had snapped up a corner rebound to give Town an early lead but the advantage was short-lived with Matthew Nelson equalising. Garvey went in front from a corner second phase via James Corry – on debut following his move from Instonians – only for Andrew Ward to level the game for a second time before half-time.

And it stayed that way until the latter stages when James Lorimer whipped home a drag-flick and the game was made safe when Sean Murray broke out of defence to set up Andy Williamson for the fourth goal and the points.

Sunday: Cork C of I 1 (J Dale) Glenanne 2 (R Shaw 2)
Richie Shaw’s pair of goals in quick succession in the closing quarter helped Glenanne land a narrow 2-1 win over Cork C of I in Garryduff. It was a tie that took its time to get going with the first three quarters ending scoreless with precious little by the way of goalmouth action other than from penalty corners for each side.

Simon Wolfe did have an effort disallowed early on while Shane O’Donoghue had three corners for the Glens denied. John Jermyn drew the best from Iain Walker at the other end before Julian Dale save one off the line.

The game finally burst into life 11 minutes from the end when C of I’s David Lynch went close. From Glenanne’s ensuing counter-attack, they won a corner which Richie Shaw was credited with the scoring touch. Four minutes later, he scored again for a 2-0 lead with nine minutes left. Dale did get one back on the closing whistle but it was too late to affect the destination of the points.

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