Avoca U-21 Cup final
Monkstown 5 (Frank Ryan3, Stephen Cole2) Railway Union 3 (Peter English 2,Jeremy Duncan)
Monkstown created history last Sunday as they became since Glenanne in the mid-90s to win the Avoca Cup for a third time in a row. The game was a cracker that fizzed from the first whistle in the May sunshine in Serpentine Avenue.
Monkstown were first out of the blocks with the forward line energetically led by Ross Watkins earning a couple of penalty corners in the first six minutes drawing good saves from Mark Ingram.
But they broke the deadlock when a Watkins jink along the backline set up Frank Ryan after eight minutes.
Railway settled into the game and equalised with a cracking short corner strike by Peter English seven minutes later while Jeremy Duncan almost grabbed the lead, bringing the best out of Chris Scollard in the Monkstown goal in a one-on-one chance.
And the Kilkenny man put Railway in front when his deflected shot looped over Scollard into the net, played in by Fiachra Maher’s handiwork.
A great solo effort by captain Stephen Cole got the Town back on terms, beating a string of players before smashing the ball home, 2-2 at half-time, though it could have been more as Richard Sykes drew an excellent goal-line stop from Peter English.
There was no let up in pace after the break but Monkstown took advantage of a couple of sin-binnings to get back in front in the 40th minute when Ryan finished off a flowing, attacking move.
Railway rode their luck at this stage with Ingram making some fine saves, allowing his side to get back on terms. Fiahcra Maher had just hit the posts but it was level for a third time when English dispatched another penalty corner, this time to the top right hand corner.
The Park Avenue side’s main threat was coming from their corner team but it was Monkstown who upped the pressure and they gained a penalty stroke with ten minutes to go when Richard Forrest’s foot stopped a goalbound Andy Ward shot from Ryan. Cole dispatched the penalty.
It led to a full-blooded response, Railway throw everything into attack and went close to levelling only for Cole to deny English brilliantly off the line from a corner Railway felt might have been upgraded to a stroke.
With time running out, Railway subbed off Ingram and replaced him with an additional outfield player but a counter attack by Kyle Good found Ryan alone in the circle to score Monkstown’s fifth goal in the final minute to seal the win in a great advert for Leinster hockey and a credit to both teams.