Corinthian finally get over the line to reach the EYHL

Men’s EY Hockey League Division 2 final
Corinthian 2 (J Perdue, D Howard) UCD 2 (D Nolan, J Henry), Corinthian win shoot-out 3-2
Corinthian summoned an incredible late salvo to finally earn promotion to the EY Hockey League after a series of close-run charges to the national division.

They trailed UCD until 90 seconds before the end of their EYHL2 final date but Davy Howard picked off a low drag-flick to nick the draw before Euan Mackay took over in the shoot-out.

A day earlier, the teenage goalkeeper had come off the bench to keep a clean sheet in their shoot-out win over Railway Union to reach the final and he was at it again in the decider.

He is well versed in the art, helping Wesley win the Leinster schools Senior League in a similar fashion and he kept out four attempts from UCD this time around.

The students will rue not making more of their ascendancy in the second half when they had the openings to move further clear but the reds hung in the tie to keep their chances alive.

They had beaten Instonians the day before 2-1 with goals from Andrew Meates and Ziggy Agnew and they carried that momentum into the final.

David Nolan gave them the lead in just the fifth minute when Peter Lynch’s skills saw him weave through and ship a big tackle, leading to a penalty stroke.

Corinthian responded well with their star man Ian Stewart forging the chances and they should have been level when he laid off for Jonny Roberts but his shot hit a foot rather than the backboard. The follow-up corner came to nothing.

They were back on terms 10 seconds into the second quarter almost direct from tip-off as Andrew Sutton whizzed a ball into the circle which Jack Perdue controlled and then slipped by Stephen Dawson – who was impressive throughout – for 1-1.

UCD, though, looked the livelier side for the remainder of the tie, spurning corner chances either side of half-time with Mark Samuel a continuous threat when racing down the right flank.

They got back in front with 20 minutes to go when Jazze Henry clipped a shot at the back post which took a wicked deflection in unfortunately off Ross Howard’s leg for 2-1.

Again, UCD looked the more forward-thinking with Andrew Tutty and Lynch going close with Ross Murray pulling off some great stops.

Corinthian, though, kept their nerve and won a third corner in the last two minutes which Howard drove in off the stick of the right postman for 2-2.

In the shoot-out, they never trailed after Stewart scored in round one but they were pegged back by John Guilfoyle before Josh Greaney and David Nolan traded scores. Round five produced no further goals, leading to sudden death where Mackay saved again while Stewart repeated his trick to score a famous victory.

Corinthian coach Trevor Dagg was delighted his side could finally get over the line after a number of successes in Leinster could not be translated into EYHL promotion playoffs success.

“First of all, hard luck to UCD. They played a great game and some really good hockey but big congratulations to our guys who have put in a lot of really hard work to get to this stage,” Dagg said.

“There’s a number of guys out injured or unavailable today; it’s been a 30-man squad and the club has really got behind us. It has taken a long time to get here but we are absolutely thrilled to be in the EYHL.

“Because of ebb and flow of the one-on-ones, I am still in that flux mode. In the past, we haven’t maybe been quite good enough. We have learned from each defeat and this weekend we showed a higher level of maturity. The age profile is getting into that mid-20s point and we showed that experience in the last quarter to get back to 2-2.

He also paid tribute to Euan Mackay who came off the bench twice over the weekend as a designated closer in the shoot-outs, keeping out several efforts: “We have been practicing them for the last two months. I felt both games could go to shoot-out so we put a lot of time, effort and focus into them. Euan and Josh [Greaney] have probably the most experience of it of anyone. He’s a great presence about him and a great future ahead of him.”

UCD now have to pick themselves up for a tie against Cork C of I for the final spot in next season’s EYHL.

UCD: S Dawson, M Romoli, C Cole, M Samuel, A Fogarty, E Ramsay, P Lynch, Z de Boe Agnew, J Guilfoyle, D Nolan, H Spillane
Subs: A Keane, A Tutty, A Meates, J Henry, I Styles, C Morrow

Corinthian: R Murray, H Burns, N Pelow, A Sutton, G Dagg, J Perdue, J Roberts, D Howard, B Murphy, I Stewart, C Mackay
Subs: J Greaney, D Winn, A Kemp, J Lewis, A Blennerhassett, R Howard, E Mackay

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