Men’s EY Champions Trophy semi-final
Glenanne 3 (S O’Donoghue 2, S Boucher) Pembroke
Glenanne produced some glorious counter-attacking hockey to pick off Pembroke who were left to rue their own profligacy in front of goal in the first of the men’s EY Champions Trophy semi-finals.
Shane O’Donoghue applied two delicious finishes from tight angles while Shannon Boucher stole in at the back post top copper-fasten the win with four minutes to go to complete the win and keep alive hopes of a double.
For Pembroke, they won seven penalty corners, the first two of which came in the opening minute, but they could not force a save out of Iain Walker from any of them.
Had they worked, this might have been a very different tie. Pembroke had large swathes of the ball but that played into Glenanne’s preferred method, charging out of defence and exploiting the space.
Sam O’Connor is particularly adept in these phases and it was his burst forward down the right that helped put O’Donoghue through. he picked his spot – despite a narrow angle – beyond Mark Ingram for 1-0 in the 14th minute, slapping home with immense power.
For Pembroke, the corner chances kept coming but O’Connor charged down a number to build tension and hesitation in the minds at the top of the D. One Sothern backhand hit the net but too high for a first strike on goal.
Boucher should have created another for the Glens but chose to shoot with two waiting men at the back post from another golden chance. For Pembroke, Nick Burns had their best opening but was defied by a combination of Walker’s stick and face mask.
The second half saw the greens sit deeper still and Pembroke could find little joy from the tightened space.
When they did, Walker got out to smother. And when they escaped the press, it set the cogs in perfect motion like when they went 2-0 up as Pembroke sniffed a chance of stealing from Rowland Rixon-Fuller but he held on and three passes later, Boucher was bearing down on the circle. He slipped to O’Donoghue who lifted a lovely backhand lob over Mark Ingram and into the corner.
Ingram did brilliantly to deny Eddie O’Malley a third in the closing quarter but the game was put to bed when Jason Rogan got a shot off, helped on the way by Stephen Brownlow virtually to the line where Boucher added the final, but slightly unnecessary, touch.
The win puts Glenanne to their first EY Champions Trophy final.
Glenanne: I Walker, D Keogh, N Byrne, R Couse, E O’Malley, S Boucher, J Brennan, S Brownlow, S O’Donoghue, G Shaw, S O’Connor
Subs: R Rixon-Fuller, R Shaw, A Clayton, G Gibney, J Rogan, J Murtagh, E Tucker
Pembroke: M Ingram, R Lynch, K O’Hare, R Flannery, K Shimmins, R Sweetnam, K Crawford, A Sothern, C Mushiete, M Treacy, S Sweetnam
Subs: J Ryan, C Murphy, N Burns, P Shanahan, W Brownlow, S Sullivan, S Thornton