Pembroke pin down playoff place as Railway relegated

Men’s EY Hockey League – day 18 round-up
Pembroke Wanderers 4 (A Sothern 2, S Sullivan, J Ryan) Cork C of I 3 (D Lynch, A Salter, A Gray)
Pembroke got the victory they needed to claim the fourth and final EY Champions Trophy ticket as they got the better of Cork C of I 4-3 at Serpentine Avenue. David Lynch put the blues 1-0 up in the third minute when he was put through one on one and showed real composure to shoot home on his backhand.

John Jermyn was in the sin-bin on a 10-minute yellow following a coming together with Alan Sothern when Pembroke equalised. They ramped up the pressure, winning three corners with the third of them turned in by Scott Sullivan on the rebound.

Stephen Sweetnam hit the post against his former club meaning it stayed level at half-time. It was 2-1 to Pembroke, though, early in the second half when Matthew Treacy laid the base for Alan Sothern to score his 30th goal of the league campaign, hitting home on the open side.

He added another from his side’s sixth corner for 3-1 and they had good chances for one or two more but C of I hung tough and got back into it when Andrew Salter tapped in.

Jack Ryan restored the two-goal lead, finishing high into the net from the left side of the D from Sweetnam’s assist. Again, the Cork men replied in kind with Andy Gray whizzing home a corner with seven minutes to go, setting up a lively closing few minutes but Pembroke kept their lead and Champions Trophy spot.

Lisnagarvey 7 (D Nelson 3, A Williamson 2, M Nelson 2) Railway Union 0
Railway Union’s tenure in the EY Hockey League came to an end after three seasons as Daniel Nelson scored a hat trick for Lisnagarvey at Comber Road.

Garvey went 2-0 up in the opening 10 minutes with Nelson getting his first, rebounding off the goalkeeper’s pads at a corner. He volleyed in the next, too, following Mikey Robson’s powerful run into the circle and shot on target. It stayed that way until half-time after a couple of Railway corners in the second quarter.

But the game got away from Railway in the second half and the win they needed to have a chance at staying up evaporated. Matthew Nelson fired in a great reverse for the third, Andy Williamson added the fourth from a swift passing move and another sweet interchange saw Matthew Nelson get another.

Daniel Buser set up Daniel Nelson for his hat trick goal in the closing quarter before Williamson completed the win, sending Railway back to the Leinster leagues for next term.

Annadale’s Peter Caruth takes on Monkstown’s Gavin Groves. Pic: Annadale HC (click here for more pics)

Annadale 3 (P Caruth, C Roberts, C Robson) Monkstown 3 (G Sarratt 2, S Cole)
Monkstown could not get the win they needed to have a chance of earning a Champions Trophy spot as Annadale concluded a confident return to the EYHL in seventh place. Town went in front via a Guy Sarratt stroke after an initial corner hit the post man on the body. Callum Robson pounced on a defensive mistake and his shot made it through the goalkeeper and trickled in.

Sarratt restored the lead in the second half with a corner drag to the top right corner but Peter Caruth equalised in the fourth quarter with the final Annadale stick on the ball before a defensive touch turned the ball in.

Connor Roberts put Dale in front with five minutes to go but Stephen Cole made it 3-3 in the closing moments for the draw. The game marked the final game in the illustrious careers of Dale’s David Smyth and Peter Bland, retiring after over two decades service each to the first team.

Three Rock Rovers 4 (H Morris 2, K Mullins, B Walker) Cookstown 1 (A Barbour)
Three Rock Rovers recovered from the concession of an early Andy Barbour goal to record their seventh successive win in the league, ending the campaign just one point behind Glenanne in second place.

Harry Morris levelled and then put his side in front with a powerful reverse-stick shot on the dive. Kevin Mullins slammed in another on the counter – when Rovers were down to 10 – for 3-1 at half-time before Ben Walker’s heavily deflected goal in the closing minutes completed the win.

In between, Josh McCabe was excellent between the posts for Cookstown while the scramble defence from Mark Crooks and Matthew Rollins kept Three Rock at bay despite a majority of the ball and circle entries. The Co Tyrone side now face a relegation playoff match next Sunday to decide whether they stay up or return to the Ulster leagues.

Glenanne 2 (S O’Donoghue, S Boucher) Banbridge 3 (J Moffett 2, E Magee)
On the day Glenanne received the EY Hockey League title, Josh Moffett and Banbridge grabbed the points with a last ditch goal that saw the Co Down club just miss out on a Champions Trophy spot.

Shane O’Donoghue got the only goal of a blood and thunder first half when he dragged in low on the stick side for 1-0 from their second corner, the first having led to a dramatic save off the line.

Bann started the second half brightly, winning five corners while Moffett hit the post before Eugene Magee’s drag-flick squirmed under Iain Walker. They went in front early in the final quarter when last man Joe Brennan was turned over with Moffett picking up the ball.

He was initially well stood up by Walker but eventually got around him and shot in for 2-1. Glenanne fought back with a couple of corners, Magee saving off the line from Shannon Boucher on the spin-move before the South African levelled the game when he rose highest to get a vital touch after Gary Shaw’s slapped free looped into the danger zone.

But Bann countered with the final play of the game with Moffett getting on the end of the move for 3-2 and the victory.

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