Garvey keep perfect record as Glens and Bann lose theirs

Men’s EY Hockey League – day four round-up
Three Rock Rovers 1 (P Blakeney) Lisnagarvey 2 (D Buser, D Nelson)
Lisnagarvey ended the weekend as the sole side with a perfect record as they scored in the first two minutes of each half to beat Three Rock Rovers who fell to a second league defeat of the season – more than last term already.

It owed a lot to a brilliant James Milliken performance in goal for Garvey, keeping out nine penalty corners as Rovers missed their set-piece specialist Luke Madeley. Sean Murray, meanwhile, drove the Ulster side on from midfield to cause plenty of danger on the counter.

They were ahead inside 75 seconds as Daniel Buser intercepted on halfway, burst forward, traded passes and entered the circle unmarked to slot home a fine effort.

Rovers replied with a couple of corners before a Murray burst led to a Matthew Nelson shot that was deflected and floated inches wide. The hosts were level at the end of the first quarter via a direct Peter Blakeney drag-flick.

Milliken made a number of good saves in the second quarter, denying Richard Pautz and, brilliantly, Harry Morris’s deflected shot at close quarters. Andy Williamson went very close with a sharp, first time shot just before the break.

The second half followed the same pattern to the first, Garvey opening the scoring within two minutes when Daniel Nelson reacted quickest to a Conor Quinn save and punched home a shot.

From there, Rovers held the vast majority of the play as they had to chase a further goal. Six more corners, though, were either denied by Milliken or touched just wide. One was turned in by James Walker but only after another corner had been awarded for a face-mask being discarded in the direction of the ball.

Garvey had three big chances to strengthen their lead on the break with Neal Glassey breaking at pace while Jody Hosking touched wide from one last corner.

Cookstown 1 (S Smyth) Annadale 4 (R Carr 2, D Tremlett, P Caruth)
Annadale landed their first win of the season at the expense of the other promoted club at Steelweld Park as Cookstown remain in waiting for their first points of the campaign.

In a lively opening, the Carryduff men were off the mark fast from the start and forced a short corner inside 90 seconds after good work down the right by David Tremlett. Josh McCabe was equal to Rhiley Carr’s flick, however.

Greg Allen went close on 12 minutes, beating two defenders to open up the chance, and Michael Kerr twice got into good positions without troubling Johnny Moore in the Annadale goal.

With the end of the quarter approaching, Annadale took the lead after David Tremlett nicked the ball and drove into the circle to win a penalty corner. Carr, Dale’s Australian, sent the ball high into the net to make it 1-0.

Another two Annadale corners came and went early in the second quarter while McCabe made a great stop as former Reds player Troy Chambers ran clear.

Cookstown were three times down to ten men as Paul Thompson, Stuart Smyth and Dan Crooks were sin-binned but they also started to come back into the game; Michael Kerr volleyed the ball over the bar while Ryan Millar was also left disappointed after a brilliant Keith Black pass.

Tremlett extended Annadale’s lead after good work down the bye-line by Connor Roberts for 2-0 in the third quarter. Cookstown had a good phase after this as Greg Allen – before limping off injured – hit the side-netting while Smyth saw a drag saved on the line. Jon Ames deflected just wide and they got one back when Smyth won and converted a corner for 2-.

But 30 seconds into the final quarter, Annadale got a gift-wrapped third as Peter Caruth intercepted a ball around the back and his shot, despite the best efforts of McCabe, dribbled over the line.

With time running out, Annadale made the points secure with three minutes remaining with Carr nailing his second corner.

Monkstown 3 (G Sarratt, K Smith, D Carson) Banbridge 1 (L Witherow)
Monkstown came from a goal down to beat Banbridge 3-1 at the Merrion Fleet Arena to move up to third place in the table, ending Bann’s winning start to the campaign.

The first quarter ended scoreless as Guy Sarratt’s drag was blocked by Gareth Lennox while Eugene Magee broke in from the left but Aaron Bailey made a key tackle. In the 19th minute, Magee fed Philip Brown on the overlap down the right, working the ball into the circle and Zach McClelland finished off after a scramble.

They had a big chance to make it two but David Fitzgerald made a crucial save from a two-on-one chance soon after. Monkstown replied with Karl Smith’s diagonal run ending with a Lennox save. They were level on the half hour when Davy Carson was felled and Sarratt dragged home the corner.

Rhiley Carr celebrates one of his goals (click image for more from the game). Pic: Annadale HC

Andrew Ward had the pick of the third quarter chances but his reverse bobbled wide, setting up a tense final quarter packed with cards. Bruce McCandless’s yellow while Town took a green.

When it was ten-a-side, Smith pounced on the ball in a melee the circle to put Town in front for the first time. Fraser Mills had a golden chance to level the game after an excellent Bann move but could not get the key touch at the back post.

Stephen Cole and Philip Brown both got yellows in the closing five minutes while Bann took off Lennox to go all-outfield. It backfired as Karl Lynch’s long ball found Carson as the only man in the 23 and he walked into an empty net for 3-1.

Pembroke 3 (J Ryan, C Murphy, K Shimmins) Glenanne 3 (E O’Malley 2, R Couse)
Pembroke came from 2-0 and 3-1 down to grab a 3-3 draw with table-topping Glenanne, going within inches of snatching a victory on the final whistle from a corner.

The Glens – with three wins from three under their belt going into the tie – started perfectly with Eddie O’Malley netting twice in the first 15 minutes. Jack Ryan pulled one back before half-time but Richard Couse’s second goal in a week put Glenanne 3-1 clear early in the second half.

St Andrew’s schoolboy Cian Murphy gave Pembroke a lifeline just before the third-quarter break and Kirk Shimmins made the game level with 11 minutes to go. And Pembroke went closest to winning it at the end from that corner but Shane O’Donoghue saved off the line to leave the sides sharing the spoils.

Cork C of I vs Railway Union – postponed due to Storm Brian

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