Garvey move to brink of men’s EYHL title as C of I raise hopes of incredible escape

Men’s EY Hockey League – day 17 round-up
Lisnagarvey 5 (D Nelson, M Nelson, A Williamson, J Lynch, O Kidd) Glenanne 1 (E O’Malley)

Lisnagarvey scored a massive win in the men’s EYHL title chase as they beat Glenanne to end the day with a four point lead at the top of the table.

They made much of the early pressure in the first quarter, showing the signs of what was to come as they soon ran up four second quarter goals. Andy Williamson’s great run laid on the chance for Daniel Nelson to make it 1-0.

Pembroke’s Matthew Treacy clears under pressure from Jamie Wright. Pic: Adrian Boehm

The elder Nelson then laid on a pass for his brother Matthew who scored a sweet reverse for 2-0. An unselfish assist from Troy Chambers created the third for Williamson to finish off and it was 4-0 via Johnny Lynch before the half-time hooter went.

Ollie Kidd added another for good measure before Eddie O’Malley got something back for Glenanne but their hopes of retaining the title were cooked as a result of this defeat. It leaves them a month to prepare for the Champions Trophy while Garvey need one win from their two remaining games – both against Annadale – to land the EYHL for a second time.

Pembroke 5 (P Good 2, S Sweetnam, H Spain, J Ryan) Banbridge 2 (E Magee 2)

Pembroke bounced back from their chastening 8-1 defeat last time out to beat Banbridge 5-2 at Serpentine Avenue, all but ending Bann’s hopes of winning the regular season title.

They started well on top, winning a number of corners with one ending in a stroke which Stephen Sweetnam converted, Luke Roleston made a number of key saves but they fell further behind when Patrick Good got on the board just before half-time in what was the veteran’s first game of the season for the first team.

A Harry Spain penalty corner made it 3-0 in the second half before Eugene Magee got one back, reducing the arears at three-quarter time to 3-1. Banbridge went to a kicking back with 10 minutes to go but it backfired spectacularly as Good and Jack Ryan both scored, countering Magee’s second of the day for a 5-2 win. It was Pembroke’s ninth win of the campaign and means they can still overhaul both Bann and Glenanne if they win both their games and that duo lose both.

Cork C of I 0 Monkstown 2 (G Cole, G Sarratt)
Monkstown picked off a goal in each half to win their seventh game of the campaign, keeping Cork C of I three points adrift at the bottom overnight before their rematch with the sky-blues.

Banbridge’s Eugene Magee surrounded. Pic: Adrian Boehm

After some early pressure, Monkstown moved ahead when Guy Sarratt – who played a challenge match with the Irish senior team against France this week – hit the backboard with a drag-flick.

C of I improved as time went on with Alex Burns winning a corner on the hooter which was charged down and they had a much better second quarter with Jonny Bruton – against one of his former clubs – at the heart of things.

Another barrage of corners early in the second half for C of I went incomplete and they fell behind from a long-range counter-attack from Monkstown with Geoff Cole finding the route to 2-0.

The final quarter was spent in the Monkstown defensive zone but they could not take any of the chances that came their way, leaving them to focus on the Sunday showdown.

YMCA 1 (G Glutz) Annadale 1 (D Tremlett)
YMCA got what could prove to a pivotal point as they moved out of the relegation playoff place while Annadale – with their late equaliser – are now mathematically safe.

Annadale had all of the play in the first quarter with Jakim Bernsden making several saves from corners before YM settled in the second quarter and had more of the game.

The Dubliners hit the front when Grant Glutz’s drag-flick from a corner hit a foot on the line and he stepped up to slot home for 1-0. It remained that way until seven minutes from the end before David Tremlett ghosted in at the back post to equalise. It was just Dale’s third point in eight games but was enough to keep their heads above water.

Cookstown 0 Three Rock Rovers 3 (K Mullins 2, J Hosking)
Three Rock Rovers made it seven wins in a row in the EY Hockey League to rise up to second in the table but with four points to make up on Lisnagarvey in the last two rounds of matches.

Three Rock captain, Jody Hosking, got his team on their way in quarter one, getting the slightest of touches off a low Luke Madeley drag at short corner time, to take the ball past Josh McCabe.

YMCA’s Ben Campbell. Pic: Sinead Hingston (click for more images)

A second Three Rock penalty corner saw McCabe and Matty Rollins combine to keep the ball out. The second quarter was only minutes old when a long Daragh Walsh pass picked out Kevin Mullins’ run.

He spun onto the strong side and unleashed an unstoppable hit into the far corner for 2-0. They might have gone further ahead but for the bravery of McCabe and Ryan Millar at short corner time.

Cookstown put on a bit more pressure at the start of the third quarter, but it was Three Rock who extended their lead. Walsh took advantage of a Madeley turnover, setting Mark English scampering down the left. His reverse into the danger area was directed over the line by Mullins for his second.

The home side continued to threaten and might’ve had a penalty stroke when Stu Smyth’s shot was prevented from crossing the line by a defender’s foot. From the subsequent penalty corner, Jamie Carr saved and set up a counter-attack. Mullins might’ve had his hat trick but for the brave last-ditch diving tackle by Dan Crooks. Walsh pulled an excellent save out of McCabe just before the end of the quarter.

Carr was again called into action in the fourth quarter, saving two Smyth drags from the set piece. Cookstown finally found a way past the Ireland international with four minutes left only to hit the post. Ryan Millar robbed the ball on the edge of his own circle, running the length of the field before switching to Stewart Wylie. His tomahawk-volley looked goalbound only to strike the upright.

Sunday: Monkstown 1 (B Hickmott) Cork C of I 3 (J Jermyn 2, P Brownlow)
Cork C of I boosted their hopes of survival in the division as they swapped Saturday’s result with a brilliant 3-1 win at Monkstown.

John Jermyn whipped home two penalty corners in the first 12 minutes to set the tone and there was a real buzz to C of I’s performance, creating numerous chances.

And they moved three clear with 25 minutes left from another set-piece as Phil Brownlow swooped after Dave Fitzgerald made two initial blocks.

Billy Lynch kept out two Town shots from Guy Sarratt to ensure a reasonable buffer stayed in place into the final quarter. Ben Hickmott did get one back with three minutes left but the points were secure for C of I.

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