Men’s EY Hockey League
UCD 4 (I Styles, M Romoli, C Murphy, D Nolan) Glenanne 6 (B Venter, C Kennedy, S Boucher, J McCormack, G Shaw, S Ronan)
Glenanne won a goal-fest at Belfield to make it two wins in seven days, lifting them up to 14 points, while UCD are now on a streak of four successive losses. Brad Venter and Clive Kennedy combined to make it 2-0 before the end of the first quarter.
Iain Styles’ deflection reduced the gap in the 22nd minute only for Shannon Boucher to power home a penalty corner drag-flick soon after. It was 3-2 in the 26th minute via Matteo Romoli but Glenanne stayed in the clear at half-time when Johnny McCormack scored from another corner.
Cian Murphy nicked another one back early in the second half; again Glenanne replied with player-coach Gary Shaw on the mark to make it 5-3. That came in the 52nd minute but less than 60 seconds later, UCD won a stroke which David Nolan calmly scored to make it 5-4 going into the final quarter.
But hopes of salvaging a result were ended when goalkeeper Max Maguire was shown a yellow card and with no recognised replacement on the bench, Glenanne took full advantage with Stu Ronan hitting in what proved to be the clincher.
“We certainly made it difficult for ourselves and it was end to end,” said Glenanne skipper Brad Venter following the tie. “Any team could have taken it on the day; we built a good lead and they kept pegging us back but glad to get the win in the end.”
“It is a different season to last year but playoffs is still the target,” he added, comparing it to last year when the Glens were comfortably in the top four. “We had a bit of a slump toward the end of last season but glad to see we are taking our chances now and piling up a few points.”
For UCD coach Michael Styles, he felt his side was too susceptible to sucker-punches: “On the ball, we were very good and I thought we dominated a lot of play. Glenanne were very good on the counter-attack and they hit us quite a lot before the game turned into chaos in the last couple of minutes which put the final nail in our coffin.”
Banbridge 3 (J McKee 2, Ph Brown) YMCA 1 (G Glutz)
Three goals in the last nine minutes saw Banbridge pick up the points at home against YMCA after they trailed for almost an hour at Havelock Park. The tie was markedly different from their recent meeting which saw Bann cruise to an 8-0 victory but the complexion of the contest was defined by the early phases.
Grant Glutz’s second minute penalty corner goal put YM in front, a lead which they clung onto with goalkeeper Jakim Bernsden in cracking form to keep out chances from Jonny McKee, Eugene Magee and Philip Brown in the first quarter.
They went on to run up nine corners which were repelled by the YM defence until the 61st minute when McKee won a stroke which he duly converted to make it 1-1. It broke the YM resolve and Phil Brown then laid on a second for McKee within a minute and the win was complete with six minutes remaining when Owen Magee’s silky skills won a corner which Brown finally found the next from.
Corinthian 1 (R Clarke) Three Rock Rovers 2 (H Morris, B Walker)
Three Rock Rovers made it six games unbeaten as they got ahead before the worst of the weather kicked in at Whitechurch Park to beat Corinthian 2-1.
Harry Morris’s reverse-stick shot form the top of the D opened the scoring in the third minute and they were two to the good when Ben Walker finished off from close range. After that, conditions deteriorated badly, making fluid hockey difficult to come by.
Corinthian got back into it as a result of a rebound after a short corner from Robbie Clarke to make it 2-1 at half-time. The second half belonged to the home side where they had several short corners in a row but Conor Quinn and the Rovers defence held out. The combination of the weekend’s results means the top four – with Rovers in fourth – currently have seven points to spare over the chasers.
Annadale 2 (A McAllister, D Tremlett) Pembroke 6 (A Sothern 4, A Burns, N Burns)
Alan Sothern continued his latest run of remarkable goalscoring to 14 goals in his last five games for Pembroke – including 10 in two meetings against Annadale – to help his side earn a 6-2 win which lifts them out of the relegation playoff place.
He opened the scoring in the ninth minute from play before Adam McAllister equalised early in the second quarter. A second Sothern strike and an Alex Burns corner rebound, though, gave Pembroke breathing room at half-time at 3-1.
Sothern completed his hat trick in the 40th minute and while David Tremlett pulled another one back, there was time for Sothern to net his fourth goal and Nick Burns got in on the act in the final minute. The defeat leaves Dale eight points adrift of YMCA at the bottom.
Monkstown v Lisnagarvey abandoned at half-time
The much-anticipated top of the table clash between Monkstown and Lisnagarvey was the one tie of the men’s EY Hockey League to fall victim of Storm Jorge.
A mixture of high winds and heavy hail made conditions too challenging to continue. As early as the 10th minute, the game had to be paused as one of the advertising hoardings blew onto goalkeeper David Fitzgerald and while play continued, abandonment seemed inevitable.
— Monkstown Hockey (@MonkstownHockey) February 29, 2020
Town – hoping to cut the gap to leaders Garvey to two points – were 2-1 in front at half-time when play was formally called off.
Questions have been raised online about the rights and wrongs of whether this and other matches should have gone ahead as a result.
To this end, Hockey Ireland introduced an official “Bad Weather Procedures” document in recent years to mitigate against wasted journeys for anticipated unplayable conditions and avoid unnecessary postponements through greater communication between clubs.
The match official confirmed both sides followed the protocols in place correctly, agreeing to try and get the game played despite concerns over the weather with the ultimate decision to abandon the game a reluctant one.