Men’s EY Champions Trophy semi-final
Three Rock Rovers 2 (H Morris, L Madeley) Lisnagarvey 1 (M Nelson)
Luke Madeley fired home a final hooter penalty corner to put Three Rock Rovers into the EY Champions Trophy final and into Europe – by virtue of Glenanne’s win – as they keep their hopes alive of retaining the title.
All the goals came in the second half with Rovers upping their tempo significantly and forcing the issue after a low-key first half which Garvey shaded. Indeed, it was a slow-burner with the defensive lines on top and the likes of Ravin Nair, Luke Madeley and Paul Gleghorne making key tackles.
Chances were rare with the better ones falling to Garvey, Daniel Nelson blazing a reverse over while Peter McKibbin found himself alone on the left post after the dissemination of a corner but could not set himself for the chance which Jamie Carr closed down.
For Rovers, Richard Pautz was showing rapid turns of skill down either baseline to cause regular panic while his rising shot was the best Rovers mustered, drawing a dramatic looking save from James Milliken.
The early stages of the second half provided more of the same before Rovers began to start picking off more and more interceptions. The crucial one came in the 50th minute when John Mullins nicked the ball on halfway, applying a quick pass to Conor Empey who flicked into the path of Pautz.
The South African decided to cross first time, clipping it perfectly for the diving Harry Morris to guide home. They held that advantage up until the closing 11 minutes with Garvey toiling but they got level out of nothing when a left wing attack saw the ball squirt loose out of a tackle.
No one really reacted bar Ryan Getty who saw the ball and clipped it first time on backhand across goal where Matthew Nelson – Garvey’s strongest presence – touched in at the right post.
The Rathfarnham side, though, kept pushing on with Kevin Mullins denied a solo goal by James Milliken and Jody Hosking’s rasping strike was parried away, too. He also saved Madeley’s first corner drag in the closing few minutes but could not keep out his second on the buzzer.
Rovers now face Glenanne in Sunday’s final at 5pm.
Three Rock Rovers: J Carr, D Kane, R Nair, R Canning, M Darling, L Madeley, D Walsh, H Morris, J Hosking, R Pautz, M Samuel
Subs: P Blakeney, C Empey, J Mullins, B Walker, K Mullins, B McCrea, C Quinn
Lisnagarvey: J Milliken, J Lorimer, J Bell, N Glassey, A Williamson, S Murray, D Buser, M Nelson, M Robson, P McKibbin, P Gleghorne
Subs: R Getty, R Arneill, D Nelson, H Morris, M McNellis, S McCabe, J Ritchie