YM and Pembroke grab crucial points as scramble to avoid ninth hots up

Men’s EY Hockey League – day 13 round-up

YMCA 2 (G Glutz, B Campbell) Corinthian 1 (C Mackay)

YMCA won what could be a crucial contest in the battle to avoid the relegation playoff place as they came from a goal down to beat local rivals Corinthian 2-1 at Wesley. YM started the brighter, flashing a great chance across the face of goal in the first minute.

But, after absorbing a lot of pressure, the reds took the lead in the seventh minute from their first chance when the ball fell to Craig Mackay on the baseline and he slotted home from a tight angle.

YM ramped up the tempo – in what was a tie played at an intense pace – and converted two corners in the second quarter, the first from Grant Glutz and a second from Ben Campbell to take the lead just before half-time. 

The second half continued at high speed with the reds trying to push on to get an equaliser but it was the hosts who had the better of the chances. They were awarded a stroke at one stage in a manic sequence of events; Ross Henderson chipped over his namesake, Charlie, but a flying Henry Micks tipped the looping ball onto the bar.

The ball fell to Ben Campbell who had the goal at his mercy but did not get a clean connection to his volley under pressure from some flailing defensive sticks and the ball bounced wide. A stroke was initially awarded but an umpires’ consultation saw a free out given instead, deeming the shot was not impeded.

Ben Cullen was also set through one-on-one but Charlie Henderson got out well to tip the ball away before contact. YM were reduced to eight players for part of the last five minutes with Iain Patterson, Matthew Walker and Harry McCarthy in the bin.

Corinthian had a corner repelled by Jakim Bernsden while Ian Stewart claimed for a stroke in the closing minutes but it was waved away as his shot went wide from close range.

Three Rock Rovers 3 (R Canning 2, E Jennings) Lisnagarvey 4 (J Lorimer 2, J Lynch, D Nelson)

Lisnagarvey moved another big step closer to retaining the men’s EY Hockey League as a strong start put them in position for this win over fourth placed Three Rock Rovers. They were 2-0 up in the first quarter from a quick strike from Daniel Nelson and a penalty corner just inside the left post from James Lorimer.

Evan Jennings finished off after the breakdown of a short corner to get the home side back into it, making 2-1 at half-time. Johnny Lynch restored the gap with a very well taken third for Garvey, controlling an in-field pass inside the Rovers half and powering a shot past Conor Quinn from the top of the circle.

Rovers again got one back thanks to a reverse-stick shot from Ross Canning as the hosts enjoyed a spell in command but were denied an equaliser by the outstretched James Milliken from a Harry Morris effort.

The last quarter was a tense affair as Garvey scored another short corner through Lorimer for 4-2 – making two from three corners. Rovers again got one back from a Canning stroke but Garvey held on for a deserved win, keeping them five points clear of second placed Banbridge but with two games in hand.

Pembroke 4 (A Sothern 2, G Chambers, J Ryan) Monkstown 4 (G Watkins 3, M Gibbons)

Alan Sothern scored twice in the last three minutes to earn a vital point for Pembroke that keeps them out of the relegation playoff place on goal difference, putting a dent in Monkstown’s title aspirations.

Pembroke had led in the first minute but a Gareth Watkins penalty stroke tied things up at 1-1 at quarter time. Simon Thornton’s heroics kept it that way and allowed the hosts to take the lead with Greg Chambers getting on the end of a great move for 2-1 just before half-time.

Monkstown, though, turned things around in quick succession in the third quarter when Watkins netted his second stroke in the 43rd minute and then completed his hat trick from play.

Mark Gibbons looked to have got the killer fourth goal with 10 minutes to go, making it 4-2. But Sothern is in a remarkable vein of form and he ran up his 15th and 16th goals in his last six games to make it a draw, the first an excellent effort from play, the next yet another stroke.

Glenanne 6 (R Shaw 2, J McCormack 2, S Boucher, S Ronan) Annadale 4 (R Burgess 3, D Tremlett)

Two goals in the last eight minutes saw Glenanne remarkably win 6-4 for the second week running to rise up to fifth place in the men’s EYHL table, eventually shaking off Annadale at St Andrew’s.

David Tremlett put Dale 1-0 up at quarter-time from play but Richie Shaw swept in from the corner injection spot and then stepped forward out of defence to instigate their second, a move which ended in a Johnny McCormack tap in.

Another flurry of Glens goals put them in what should have been cruise control by the 44th minute as Shannon Boucher whacked in first time and then McCormack put them 4-1 up.

Ryan Burgess, however, promptly nailed a three-minute hat trick to level it at 4-4 with 16 minutes still to go, two drags either side of a stunning solo goal.

Glenanne steadied themselves with Stu Ronan rounding the goalkeeper and clipping home and Richie Shaw added a carbon-copy of his first goal in the closing minutes. After waiting four months for a win, it was the Glens’ third three-pointer in succession.

UCD 1 (J Guilfoyle) Banbridge 2 (J Moffett 2)

Banbridge moved into second place on their own courtesy of Josh Moffett’s second half double at Belfield as the students woes continued with a fifth successive league defeat.

After a scoreless first half, Bann went in front in the third quarter and Moffett doubled up with three minutes to go. John Guilfoyle got one back for the students a minute late but too late to change the outcome of the contest.

For Bann, it made it 22 points from the last 24 available and coach Gordon Cracknell said it was a tough result to dig out.

“UCD were very good today and made it very difficult for us. We stuck at it and I think we got our just rewards in the end.

“We did start poorly [this season] but the team has really pulled together and are on a great run now. We’ve got to keep working at it and, if we do, we will be where we need to be. Unbeaten in Dublin this season and that is a big achievement.”

To that end, the adapted well with Alex Tinney and Sam Farson both out injured with schoolboys like twins Louis and Charlie Rowe featuring alongside their older brother Eddie.

For UCD’s Michael Styles he was frustrated not to get more from the tie, feeling they had their chances: “We’ve played really well today, defended really well and created so many chances. Three shots just hit their goalkeeper, we had one taken off the line – as a coach, you are annoyed to have lost but really proud of the effort and standard the lads played at. That’s the way things go.”

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