Cork duo in pole position at halfway stage of EYHL2 groups; Sweeney the North star

The two Cork sides lead the men’s EYHL Division 2 groups at the halfway stage after Cork C of I and Harlequins’ home wins on Saturday. For the former, they proved too strong for Avoca with Jonny Bruton scoring a first half hat trick to propel them to a 5-1 win over Avoca.

His triple had them 3-0 up before the prolific Eoin Finnegan added a fourth before half-time. Richard Couse pulled one back for Avoca but John Jermyn – on his return to action – completed the route.

It lifts them to 12 points, five clear of their two nearest rivals, Instonians – featuring Olympians Paul Gleghorne and Mikie Watt – and Railway Union, who shared a scoreless draw at Shaw’s Bridge. It leaves them both on seven points and all to play for in the new year.

In Pool B, Harlequins came back from 2-0 in the last 12 minutes to defeat Cookstown 3-2 with a stunning late salvo. The Co Tyrone side looked to be going great guns when Calum Anderson slammed home from Paul Thompson’s assist and Daniel Crooks’ glorious reverse-stick shot into the top corner.

Those came in a three-minute golden period for Cookstown and they looked set for victory until Ross Bailey gave his side a lifeline, finishing off an excellent pitch length move with Dave Egner making the final assist.

Bailey cleaned up a rebound from Richie Gash’s flick for 2-2 with six minutes left before Julian Dale won it in the final minute. It was a typically brilliant piece of innovation, not needing the trap element and he controlled and dragged a corner injection all on his own.

Clontarf came back from a goal down against Kilkeel to record their first win of the group. Peter Gordon put the Mourne men ahead from David Rae’s fantastic pass but Luke Hayden, Jordan Edmonds and Kevin Murray gave the Bulls a strong lead going into the final quarter. Luke Russell made for a tense last 10 minutes but Clontarf held on.

It lifts them to seven points, level with Cookstown, with Kilkeel on three.

In Leinster Division One, Adrian Sweeney’s hat trick gave Dublin North their second win of the season as they got one over Weston 3-1.

His deflection put them 1-0 up in the 10th minute and he followed up with a sweet reverse past Dave Carroll. A third came just after half-time before the Lucan side got into gear and pressed high up the field.

Dublin North’s Adrian Sweeney. Pic: Adrian Boehm

They forced a number of corners and Conor Murphy scored off a switch; they continued to make most of the play but North kept them out to keep it at 3-1.

Elsewhere, Portrane were too strong for Bray with a 5-1 success that lifts them up to fourth place in the table.

During the week, Clontarf will play bottom side Trinity and Weston meet the students on Thursday, hoping to have Davitt Meenaghan back from injury.

UCD became the second side to reach the Mills Cup semi-finals with a shoot-out win over Glenanne. Normal time ended 3-3 with Andrew Meates scoring twice for the students while Stu Ronan netted twice for the Glens either side of a Stephen Brownlow stroke.

The winner will play Three Rock Rovers or Pembroke next. Corinthian are already through on the other side of the draw to meet either Monkstown or Railway Union.

EYHL Division 2

Pool A: Cork C of I 5 (J Bruton 3, E Finnegan, J Jermyn) Avoca 1 (R Couse); Instonians 0 Railway Union 0

Pool B: Cork Harlequins 3 (R Bailey 2, J Dale) Cookstown 2 (C Anderson, D Crooks); Kilkeel 2 (P Gordon, L Russell) Clontarf 3 (L Hayden, J Edmonds, K Murray)

Leinster Division 1: Bray 1 (S Fleming) Portrane 5 (M Ahmed 2, S Rogan, S Graham, I Khan); Weston 1 (C Murphy) Dublin North 3 (A Sweeney 3)

Irish Junior Cup – Round 2: Banbridge 4 (L McConnell, D Ward, B Malcolmson, E Rowe) Lisnagarvey 4, Lisnagarvey win shoot-out 6-5; Bangor 7 (D McClune 3, A Reading, C McLean, M Lappin, S Hunter) North Down 2 (Magee, Moore); Clontarf 5 South Antrim 1; Corinthian 1 (M Neill) Annadale 0; Instonians 1 (McCaughan) Pembroke 4 (P Good 2, A O’Meara, W Brownlow); Railway Union 4 (R Abbott 2, A van As, P Yates) NICS 3; UCD 3 Bandon 2; YMCA 2 (A Walker, C Carroll) Three Rock Rovers 2 (S Walker, A Empey), TRR win shoot-out

Irish Hockey Challenge: Midleton 7 (A Moore 3, C McCormack, E Hayes, A Carry, J Spillane) Galway 0

Mills Cup, quarter-finals: UCD 3 (A Meates 2, G Sarratt) Glenanne 3 (S Ronan 2, S Brownlow), UCD win shoot-out

Partners of The Hook