A Leinster side is guaranteed promotion to the men’s EY Hockey League at the expense of Cookstown after Corinthian and UCD advanced to the final of EYHL2 on Saturday at Whitechurch Park.
In the women’s competition, Ards will be replaced by either Catholic Institute or Queen’s after they accounted for Trinity and Monkstown in their semi-finals.
The reds opened the day with a dramatic shoot-out win over Railway in the two clubs’ sixth meeting of this season. Jeremy McKeever scored a brilliant opener for Railway with a diving touch over Ross Murray after David McCarthy’s slap was guided first time into the circle by Eoin MacArthur.
Ian Stewart levelled from a penalty corner push before half-time and Corinthian went in front when Craig Mackay worked an opening for Jonathan Roberts who scored a brilliant reverse from the top right of the D.
Railway, though, snatched parity with an old-school penalty corner hit from Adam O’Callaghan. Stewart had a possible winner disallowed in the closing minutes, sending the tie to a shoot-out.
David Howard shot over in the first round while McKeever’s shot hit the backboard but was deemed to have been with the backstick. Stewart opened the scoring before Euan Mackay – reprising his shoot-out heroics from Wesley in the schools league final – saved a McCarthy blast.
Josh Greaney’s beautiful spin made it 2-0 while Michael McKenzie then put an early shot wide. George Dagg had the chance to win it but was fouled, leaving the honours to Howard to score an impudent, no-step stroke.
In the second semi-final, UCD were the stronger outfit against Instonians but took a while to let their control take hold on the score-sheet as the first half ended blank at 0-0.
The game burst into life in the last 20 minutes with Ziggy Agnew opening the scoring from a penalty corner before Robbie McCaughan levelled just two minutes later as Mikie Watt became an increasing presence as time wore on.
Andrew Meates, however, won the day for the students to set up a final showdown with arch rivals Corinthian.
On the women’s side, Jessica McMaster’s third minute goal was all that separated Queen’s and Monkstown in the first semi-final. She intercepted a ball deep in Town territory and while her first shot was saved by Laura McCarthy, she finished off the rebound.
Monkstown had a lot of pressure in the first half with Chloe Watkins showing her skills and that ratcheted up a notch in the second with Rosie Carrigan and Sadhbh Hoban Logan both seeing an effort saved off the line.
Queen’s, though, held out and now have two shots at possible promotion, starting with Sunday’s EYHL2 final against Catholic Institute.
Just devastated that we couldn’t reinstate our beloved @MonkstownHockey to #EYHL1 today. The commitment @SimonLowry2 and the girls have shown this year has been second to none. Best of luck to @InstaLadies and @QUBHC tomorrow #wellbeback 💙😢
— Christine Quinlan (@quinlc02) April 28, 2019
For Insta, they went behind in the eighth minute when Sally Campbell played a brilliant through ball to Issy Delamer who finished off a classy goal.
Laura Foley volleyed in an equaliser three minutes later from a penalty corner and the Limerick side had lots of gilt-edged chances to move in front.
They had to wait until the second half for them to come with Kim Daly slamming home the second and Leah Clery stretched the margin out to 3-1 with 20 minutes to go.
Trinity suddenly burst into life at that stage and they scrambled in a corner just before the end of the third quarter to set up a monumental final phase.
There were plenty of corners with lots of last-ditch defending required while Ailish Long was somehow denied by Miriam O’Callaghan. Insta just about survived to set up their final date with Queen’s.
EYHL 2 – Semi-Finals: Corinthian 2 (I Stewart, J Roberts) Railway Union 2 (A O’Callaghan, J McKeever), Corinthian win shoot-out 3-0; UCD 2 (Z Agnew, A Meates) Instonians 1 R McCaughan)
Women’s EYHL2 – Semi-Finals: Catholic Institute 3 Trinity 2 (I Delamer, A Burns); Queens University 1 (J McMaster) Monkstown 0
Sunday 28th April 2019
EYHL2 – Final: Corinthian v UCD, Whitechurch Park, 2pm
EYHL2 – Final: Queen’s v Catholic Insittute, Whitechurch Park, 4.30pm