Corinthian capped off their league season with a 2-0 win over Trinity to take Leinster League Division One honours, putting them in great shape for next weekend’s EYHL promotion playoffs.
They will host that event, giving them a good shot at earning a place in the national division for the first time as they play Railway Union – for a sixth time this season – in their semi-final.
Against Trinity, Jack Perdue scored a fine individual finish and Ian Stewart netted in the second half with a reverse stick shot. Euan Mackay saves a stroke in the last minute.
While it was the result that got them over the title line, coach Trevor Dagg said their season had a defining moment far earlier in the campaign when they lost to Railway in their second league game.
It put them on the back foot in Leinster but they bounced back to beat the Sandymount club in the Irish Senior Cup, Mills Cup and Neville Cup in the next two weeks as well as beating Kilkeel in their first IHL2 outing.
That confidence then carried the reds on a 10 game winning streak until Banbridge edged a close counter in the Irish Senior end of November. The reds then lost another tight match with UCD 4-3 before Christmas which left them thirdd in the league at the mid point.
TRR pipped them on 1v1’s in the Neville Cup final on Stephens Day and the Glens put them out of the Mills semi finals in January but strong performances in the IHL2 group games, winning five and drawing one, meant they carried momentum in the business end of season.
While UCD and Railway faltered in the final stages, the reds stayed on track after Christmas winning ten and drawing one in the league. A critical win 3-2 over UCD at the end of March proved pivotal in maintaining that momentum.
Ian Stewart and David Howard continue their progress in staking a claim for higher honours with 40 goals between them.
However they could have done without the loss to injury of Conor Moyter before the playoffs. Euan Mackay, Ross Howard, Max Wright and Craig MacKay are the latest crop of school boys to stake claims to play first team hockey for the reds this year.
Coach Dagg commented: “We’re delighted with the win and very grateful for all the support we received during the season. We’re now looking forward to hosting the IHL2 playoffs on April 27 and 28 in St Columbas. It’s going to be a very exiting two days and we look forward to hosting all the clubs involved.”
UCD had a very remote chance of overhauling Corinthian if they could run up a monster score but they fell 4-3 in Kilkenny. The students did go 1-0 up about 10 minutes in from the second phase of a penalty corner.
A bit of magic from Billy McEnery, though, set up hitman Henry Huston for a tap in, beating three players along the endline. Peter Lynch restored the UCD lead at half-time but Kilkenny got it back to 2-2 via Emmett Hughes from the trapper’s forehand at corner time.
Eamon Walsh then tipped in after a nice move from the outlet out of a high press, making it 3-2 to the hosts. UCD got it back to 3-3 when Kilkenny fail to clear, concede a corner and while the push out only made it out halfway into the circle, the students worked the corner back for Ewan Ramsay to score.
The game was won by a stroke for a foot on the line after some nice baseline play from Tom Manning with David McClure scoring. Richie Dore, on his stag weekend, missed a stroke for good measure.
Railway Union won a lively match at Portrane 5-4 with Shingo Ouchida enjoying a rare appearance for the firsts to score twice. Railway were down a series of players due to a club member’s wedding but the result was enough to lift them to second place above UCD.
It ensures they play in EYHL2 next year at the very least but UCD could miss out should results go against them, namely Instonians win the EYHL playoffs and YMCA get relegated.
Rathgar beat Dublin North to finish their season on a high after a tough run since Christmas. North went in front after five minutes when Jim Dunne won the ball in midfield and played in Shane Dempsey who set up Paddy Gahan making a run off his shoulder.
Gar replied by scoring the next four before Shane Dempsey got their second but the southsiders ran out 6-2 winners in the end with David Meade getting two.
Clontarf completed their excellent second part of the season with a 1-0 win over Avoca, ending the campaign with seven wins, one draw and one loss from their last nine games.
They controlled the first half and missed a couple of chances that should have been punished. The goal came five minutes into the second half from Kev Murray, stealing the ball close to the half line on the left-hand side and running it across the pitch to enter the circle on the right and slide it past the keeper – an amazing individual effort.
Avoca were always hunting the game and some great keeping by David Lawless, fresh back into the teams from the Irish Under-21 series, saw Tarf hold them out 1-0.
As fourth place finishers, they have an outside chance of EYHL2 hockey next year if a Leinster side gets promoted and YMCA stay up.
Men’s Leinster Division 1: Clontarf 1 (K Murray) Avoca 0; Dublin North 2 (P Gahan, S Dempsey) Rathgar 6 (D Meade 2, A Malcolm, S Roberts, S Malcolm, A White); Dublin University 0 Corinthian 2 (J Perdue, I Stewart); Kilkenny 4 (H Huston, E Hughes, D McClure, E Walsh) UCD 3 (P Lynch, A Meates, E Ramsay); Portrane 4 (I Khan 2, S Healy, C Neville) Railway Union 5 (S Ouchida 2, M MacKenzie, T Nowakowski, D Medcalf)