Bann double delight earns strong hold on EYHL top spot

Men’s EY Hockey League – weekend round-up
Saturday: Cork C of I 2 (J Jermyn, P Bronwlow) Banbridge 3 (J Moffett 2, Z McClelland)
Banbridge moved back to the top of the EYHL table on Saturday night as they came from 2-1 down in the second half to earn the spoils at Garryduff. The game was preceded by a minute’s silence in honour of C of I club man Charlie Sweetnma who passed away this week.

The first quarter was aggressively contested with few chances but Bann took the lead in the second quarter following a great passing move down the left, Josh Moffett finishing off.

John Jermyn replied with a rocket off the crossbar to make it 1-1 at half-time from C of I’s second corner of the game. He was instrumental in their second, too, with a long a overhead into the circle that was missed by the last defender and Phil Brownlow was lurking to put it away – a goal reminiscent of Julian Dale’s effort against the same opposition in C of I colours.

Bann got level when Peter Brown’s powerful cross fell to Moffett who finished off, making it 2-2 going int the final quarter.

Bann bossed much of the last stanza and they got their winner when Fraser Mills’ cross found Zach McClelland to finish, taking advantage of an extra man with Philip Byrne in the sin-bin.

Lisnagarvey 5 (O Kidd, J Corry, M Nelson, B Nelson, D Nelson) Cookstown 1 (G Allen)
The Nelson family had a day to remember as all three brothers were on the mark for Lisnagarvey as they swept aside Cookstown at a drenched Comber Road. All their goals came in the first half with Ollie Kidd setting the tone in the second minute.

James Corry’s penalty stroke a few minutes later doubled the lead before the Nelsons took centre stage. Matthew’s reverse-stick shot was deflected in by Ben for his first EYHL goal and 3-0 at the end of the first quarter.

Matthew Nelson added the next, getting on the end of a quick attack following a swift attack. Daniel Nelson soon got in on the act with a cracking backhand shot for 5-0 and it could have been worse for Cookstown when Ben Nelson hit the post and a second Matthew Nelson effort was ruled out.

Cookstown got one back in the second half via Greg Allen as the heavens opened but no further goals accrued in the closing quarter. Garvey move up a couple of places above Three Rock Rovers and Annadale who were not in action this weekend.

Monkstown 3 (G Watkins, R Nichols, G Sarratt) Pembroke 2 (G Chambers, S Miller)
Monkstown landed their third win of the season built around a glorious opening 22 minutes in which they scored all their goals. They had succumbed to a big Pembroke comeback in their first meeting of the season but Town held on for an important result that gets them back in touch with the playoff places.

Player-coach Gareth Watkins put them in front in the fifth minute from the penalty spot after Ross Quirke’s shot hit a body on the line.

Geoff Cole battles his way out of a Pembroke tackle. Pic: Adrian Boehm

It got better in the 10th minute when the ball was worked up the right side to Andrew Ward and his pass on the 45 got to Rory Nichols who slotted in for 2-0. The third goal came via a Guy Sarratt drag-flick and the hosts were in great shape.

Pembroke got a lifeline from a long corner attack that was crossed for a Greg Chambers tap in, reducing the deficit to 3-1 at half-time.

And it was properly game on when Stuart Miller shot into the bottom left corner off the back of a well-worked two-on-one attack. There was still 20 minutes to play at that stage and Pembroke had their moments to get back level with Keith O’Hare denied by Dave Fitzgerald who made a couple of key saves.

They held on and now have breathing room to the bottom three in the table and can look more assuredly at the upper half of the table.

Sunday: Banbridge 6 (E Rowe, J Moffett, L Witherow, E Magee, D Rae, A Tinney) Cookstown 1 (S Smyth)
A first-half Banbridge blitz saw the Co Down side end the weekend in top spot with a comfortable win over Cookstown who had a weekend to forget.

Eddie Rowe gave them the lead with a sublime upright reverse-stick finish. Matthew Rollins took a corner shot off the line but Bann were not to be denied a second for too long as Josh Moffett deflected home before the quarter-time break.

The hosts also welcomed Philip Brown for his first appearance of the season and they got their third goal when Fraser Mills got to the byeline and found Luke Witherow to score. Eugene Magee’s corner supplied the fourth goal before half-time.

Mills hit the post early in the second half before Cookstown got some reprieve when Stu Smyth planted a low flick into the corner. Brown marked his comeback with an assist for David Rae to make it 5-1 and Alex Tinney completed the win from a corner switch.

Monkstown 3 (D Cole, G Sarratt, G Watkins) Glenanne 4 (D Keogh, C Jakobi, S Boucher, B Venter)
Glenanne continued their unbeaten run into a ninth league game with a strong second half performance earning a 4-3 win over Monkstown at the ALD Merrion Fleet Arena.

They led twice in a busy first quarter with David Cole knocking in a corner rebound in the fourth minute, a goal that was almost instantly countered by a penalty stroke from David Keogh.

Jason Lynch holds possession. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Guy Sarratt’s drag-flick restored the Town lead in the 10th minute but Cedric Jakobi continued his fine form with a replica equaliser, 2-2 by the 13 minute mark.

It remained that way until half-time with Nick Dee taking one off the line on the half-time whistle from a Shannon Boucher drag. The Glens, though, started the second half brightly and went in front when Jonny McCormack countered down the right and crossed to Boucher who swivelled around a defender to fire a shot into the backboard.

Iain Walker made a couple of key saves to keep that narrow lead as did his counterpart David Fitzgerald, keeping it at 3-2 until 10 minutes to go when the crucial goal arrived. Richie Shaw found Boucher whose pass across goal was deflected into the net by Brad Venter.

Town got one back with seven minutes left from a Gareth Watkins stroke but they could not forge an equaliser.

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