Cork clubs in pole position in men’s EYHL2

EY Hockey League Division 2 round-up

Cork C of I became the first men’s side to be guaranteed a place in the final four of the men’s EYHL Division 2, giving them the chance of bouncing straight back up to the national division.

They proved too strong for Instonians at Garryduff with John Jermyn’s hat trick proving pivotal in a 6-2. Jonny Bruton put C of I one up in the 11th minute before Chris Kirk’s penalty stroke levelled matters.

Cookstown won a vital tie against Clontarf. Pic: Alan Donnelly

But the Cork side went on to score the next five goals with Jermyn and Bruton on the mark in the second quarter before Jermyn and Stephen Parker made it 5-1 by the end of the third quarter. Jermyn traded goals with William Robinson from corners to end it at 6-2.

The result opened the door for Railway Union to leap into second place in the group thanks to a 7-1 win at Avoca with Daragh Curley scoring three of them. They were in control from early on, leading 4-0 at half-time, and they never really looked back, rising to 13 points, two ahead of Inst who they play in the final round of group games on April 4th.

In Pool B, Julian Dale netted all four goals for Cork Harlequins in their 4-2 win over Kilkeel to move back to the top of the table after a hard-fought encounter.  Kilkeel opened the scoring with a lovely David Finlay touch but Dale equalised from a stroke after a goalbound shot hit a player’s body.

Quins took the lead soon after via a Dale drag, the first of three. Eddie Agnew got a scrappy equaliser for Kilkeel after some pressure, the ball trickling over the line in the end.

But another Dale drag took the lead at 3-2 with eight minutes to go and while Kilkeel had two corners to try and equalise, they could not take them while Dale did take his chance.

Cookstown, meanwhile, got right back into the frame for a semi-final berth thanks to a 3-2 win over Clontarf. All the goals came in the first half.  Scott McCabe conjured the opening goal for Paul Watt before Clontarf got back into it with a deflected goal from Kevin Murray.

Ryan Millar reestablished Cookstown’s lead from the short corner set piece but a blunder at the back allowed the Dublin men to get back level, John Mullins profiting for 2-2.

Down to nine men, the Reds looked to star man Mark Crooks to change the game. He ran the length of the pitch before squaring to Scotty McCabe who diverted the ball over the line.

Clontarf forced a couple of top class saves out of Reds ‘keeper Josh McCabe, but Cookstown held on for a useful couple of points. The Dubliners, though, did get a losing bonus point which may prove vital as they stay in second place, just ahead of the Co Tyrone club.

For both clubs, if they can record home wins on April 4th, they can go through to the semi-finals. Clontarf host Kilkeel while Cookstown meet Harlequins.

In Leinster Division One, Kilkenny beat Dublin University 3-2 to move back up to sixth place while Portrane are back in third place after a 7-1 win against Weston.

They went 1-0 down in the first two minutes with 17-year-old Andriú Tucker scoring his first senior goal but Portrane proved too strong thereafter.

Men’s EYHL Division 2

Pool A: Avoca 1 (J Elmes) Railway Union 7 (D Curley 3, R Devlin, H Heisterkamp, M Fulham, F Keaveney); Cork C of I 6 (J Jermyn 3, J Bruton 2, S Parker) Instonians 2 (C Kirk, W Robinson)

Pool B: Cookstown 3 (P Watt, R Millar, S McCabe) Clontarf 2 (K Murray, J Mullins); Cork Harlequins 4 (J Dale 4) Kilkeel 2 (D Finlay, E Agnew)

Leinster Division 1: Kilkenny 3 (A Atkinson 2, E Hughes) Dublin University 2; Weston 1 (A Tucker) Portrane 7 (I Khan 4, S Graham, C Neville and D Eustace

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