UCD going up and ambitious to push on in men’s EYHL

Men’s EY Hockey League promotion/relegation playoff
UCD 4 (D Nolan 3, P Lynch) Cork C of I 4 (J Bruton 2, P Brownlow, J Jermyn), UCD win shoot-out 3-2.

UCD won a crazy EY Hockey League promotion/relegation playoff to earn a place back in the top tier, relegation Cork C of I to EYHL Division 2 for next season.

It increases Leinster’s total to seven teams in the national division while it leaves Munster without a representative as C of I were unable to finish off their great escape plans.

David Nolan was the UCD key man in normal time, scoring a hat trick while he also laid on the perfectly angled pass in the first minute for Peter Lynch’s left to right run. The striker controlled and tapped in one movement to beat the slide of Billy Lynch.

A charged-up Jonny Bruton turned things around with two beautiful strikes to make it 2-1. The first one came via Kevin O’Dea and David Lynch’s passing move and the former international cracked in a reverse from the left of the D.

The second was even more special, leaving his marker for dead with his first control on the 23 before bouncing the ball up and shortening his grip to half-volley home.

Nolan levelled from a corner switched back to him at the injection area but Phil Brownlow restored the Cork lead before half-time when he was set free and he rolled home.

UCD took the initiative after the break, dominating much of the play and they swapped the lead once again when Nolan was again in position from a corner to sweep at goal. This time, it hit a body on the line but he converted the stroke.

Nolan then dove onto a corner rebound that fell his way to make it 4-3 with the final 10 minutes closing in. John Jermyn denied UCD victory in normal time with a powerful drag-flick into the backboard for 4-4.

The students regrouped, though, where John Guilfoyle and Nolan edged them into a 2-1 lead and while David Lynch equalised in round five, Lynch stormed into the circle and fired in a reverse to win the shoot-out 3-2.

“We feel UCD belong in the top flight of Irish hockey, so finally getting over the line after last week’s disappointment has everyone in the club happy,” UCD captain Ziggy Agnew said.

“Getting ourselves back in the EY league gives us a much better chance at recruiting the right players in and trying to emulate the success the ladies club have had over the last few years.

“With both teams in the EY, and a new pitch currently being laid, it is exciting times here in UCD. However we are not satisfied to sit on the successes of this season.

“Over the next few years, the aim is to push for a top four finish and chance at competing in Europe. First step is prepping well for next season over the summer and being ready come September.”

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