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Stunning Lisnagarvey retain men’s Irish Senior Cup title

Men’s Irish Senior Cup final
Lisnagarvey 3 (A Williamson, H Morris, B Nelson) Monkstown 1 (D Carson)

Lisnagarvey extended their lead at the top of the men’s Irish Senior Cup winners all-time list as three second half goals saw them retain the title at Belfield in brilliant style.

It was right the way in the balance until the closing minutes as Andy Williamson’s goal was all that stood between the sides with five minutes to go.

But two counter strikes from Harry Morris and Ben Nelson put them in dreamland, winning this title for a 25th time, adding to the EY Hockey League and EY Champions Trophy crowns already won this term.

Williamson had a dramatic day, scoring the first, being sin-binned while the second went in and then returning to assist the third when his effort bounced off the post.

“It feels great to get the third trophy this year. It’s something our guys have chased for a few years now, it’s fantastic,” he said afterwards, tormenting Monkstown for a second week running having scored late on in their Champions Trophy semi-final.

“We know it will be tough against those guys, one of the toughest out there. I just so happened to get the two goals. It has been a long season for me, only coming back in January after ankle surgery so great to be back and playing strong opposition.”

Indeed, it could expand to five titles as they still have Ulster’s Kirk Cup and a European campaign to come in June.

Monkstown were the sides out of the blocks quicker with Andrew Fogarty to the fore. His reverse was the first shot on target while Lee Cole’s drag-flick was guided around the post by James Milliken.

Garvey came more into it in the second quarter with Daniel Nelson and James Lorimer pulling off shots from a very tight game.

It opened up more after the break with Troy Chambers exceptional down the Lisnagarvey right and they started a run of corners, one of which Williamson planted into the corner.

Monkstown, meanwhile, had strong shouts of their own. They argued one corner was denied by a body on the line by Johnny Bell but umpire Warren McCully – standing in his last fixture – and Alison Keogh – the first female to officiate the men’s final – agreed it went off a stick.

When Williamson departed for the sin-bin, it seemed time for Monkstown to really turn the screw but it was their opponents who broke out in devastating fashion. Ben and Matthew Nelson combined with quick-fire passes and while the brilliant Lee Cole dove back to nick the ball away in the shooting phase, it squirmed invitingly to Morris waiting on the right post to tip in.

It left Garvey four minutes to play out but, with Town applying a full press, a lengthy James Lorimer overhead was brilliantly tipped around the last defender by Williamson. His shot bumped off the bottom of the post but Ben Nelson followed up to touch in.

There was still time for Davy Carson to rifle one into the net but it was a consolation as Garvey had their victory and a third trophy in this remarkable season.

Monkstown: D Fitzgerald, D Nolan, D Carson, A Fogarty, J Duncan, J Henry, D Cole, S Cole, G Cole, K Kenning, L Cole
Subs: N Dee, G Sarratt, K Lynch, S Hohn, M Gibbons, T Kohlmann, R Clarke

Lisnagarvey: J Milliken, J Lorimer, J Lynch, J Bell, M McNellis, J Corry, A Williamson, D Nelson, A Edgar, M Nelson, T Chambers
Subs: P McKibbin, B Nelson, H Morris, C Chambers, R Getty, O Kidd, J Ritchie

Lisnagarvey’s Ben Nelson celebrates in style. Pic: Adrian Boehm

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Insta crown remarkable season with first ever women’s Irish Senior Cup

Women’s Irish Senior Cup final
Catholic Institute 1 (A Hickey) Pembroke 0

Aoife Hickey wrote herself and Catholic Institute into Irish Senior Cup folklore as her 16th minute goal handed the Limerick club their first ever senior title as they denied Pembroke a perfect treble at a drenched Belfield.

She brilliantly volleyed in Naomi Carroll’s knee-high cross for the only goal and the Limerick club saw out the win in super style to crown a remarkable season.

At the start of the campaign, they openly admitted top six would represent success but, by the spring, they had marked themselves along with Pembroke as the two outstanding clubs on the scene.

Pembroke had landed the EY Hockey League and Champions Trophy, picking apart Insta just six days ago at Havelock Park 4-1.

But the patterns shifted drastically this week with Carroll an effervescent dynamo at the heart of this remarkable performance.

“We are ecstatic,” said Carroll, the game’s outstanding player. “We had a tough week, losing to Pembroke last week and were devastated after it but it just shows the quality in their side, scoring two goals in the first quarter and they really put us under the pump.

“We really had to turn things around and we had to believe in ourselves and couldn’t let that happen again. We knew if we could keep it close or score early, we’d give ourselves a chance and I am absolutely over the moon. It’s been a really long season and it is incredible to finish it off on this high.

“We watched a lot of video and saw we ourselves made a lot of mistakes which we knew we could rectify. We knew the pace they had in midfield and the quality in their defence in their flat-stick tackling. We had to change what we did and bring our strengths forward, not fall into their game plan. We focused on that and gave it everything! Empty the tanks was our motto!”

Pembroke had started brightly with Aisling Naughton’s backhand needing a diving Christine O’Shea block to smother it’s path with Rachel O’Brien had a couple of big digs at goal.

But Carroll’s influence soon came to bear and it was her surge that laid the base for Hickey to net just before the end of the first quarter, battling to nick the ball and then rounding the defence on the right flank.

She almost created a second for Lizza Ryan whose deflection was blocked by goalkeeper Emma Buckley who was far busier than a week before.

Pembroke came on strong in the second half with Ellen Curran and Gillian Pinder building up speed. They won five penalty corners but found no way through with the combination of Pam Smithwick and Michelle Barrett an adept duo to clear the lines.

Insta, though, always looked the more incisive on this occasion. Ryan and Hannah Kelly combined well to force another save from Buckley while a baseline cross was just beyond the stick of Kelly from another big chance.

Without the insurance goal, it always left Pembroke in the hunt, winning a series of set pieces in the final play.

But, fittingly, Carroll had the last touch of the game, charging down as the first defensive runner on the final hooter to confirm the victory.

Pembroke: E Buckley, L McGuire, A-K Trevor, S Loughran, E Beatty, O Macken, E Curran, R O’Brien, I Delamer, A Naughton, G Pinder
Subs: A Griffin, C Moroney, C Foley, S Campbell, T Wensley, M McCready, R Cowman

Catholic Institute: P Smithwick, C O’Shea, N Carroll, R Upton, L Clery, E Ryan, M Barrett, A Horan, J Clein, C Moloney, M Barrett
Subs: A Hickey, H Kelly, B Murphy, M Scanlon, A Bourke, L Ryan, M O’Callaghan

Umpires: G Garrett, F Davitt

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Pembroke and Garvey eyeing up treble on Irish Senior Cup final day

Pembroke and Lisnagarvey will look to add the third trophy of potential triples on Saturday as the Irish Senior Cup finals return to Belfield for the first time since 2018.

They won the respective EY Hockey League and EY Champions Trophy finals and now have Catholic Institute and Monkstown standing in the way of a national clean-sweep.

First on court, Pembroke will be looking to repeat last Sunday’s comprehensive success against Insta in which they produced a wonderful display of tight defence allied to a speedy counter-attacking.

A feature has been the spread of goalscorers, 16 different players weighing in with none scoring more than six. It’s a stat which makes it difficult for opponents to know where to defend according to Gillian Pinder.

“Sure, when you have so many people scoring goals, who do you pick up!” Pinder said. “It’s a great problem to have. We were never reliant on one or two individuals to make sure we get the win!”

For Catholic Institute, it has already been a groundbreaking season and they would dearly love to bring a first senior title back to Rosbrien.

“Our club has been to two Irish Senior Cup finals in the past [in 1979 and 1984] and yet to win any,” said captain Róisín Upton. “I don’t think the idea we are in Europe has sunk in yet. When we reflect on the season, we will be delighted. A final of the Champions Trophy and a final of the cup, it is a fantastic achievement for our little club in Limerick.”

In the men’s final, reigning champions Garvey are hoping to land a 25th title but they face a Monkstown side who pushed them to the limit last Saturday in the Champions Trophy semi-final.

Indeed, the Dubliners had one foot in the final with three minutes to go courtesy of Jeremy Duncan’s second half goal. But a stunning late salvo from Andy Williamson and Matthew Nelson with just seconds to go saw the Hillsborough side nab a 2-1 victory from the embers.

Matthew Nelson celebrates his winning goal against Monkstown Pic: Adrian Boehm

They followed up a day later with a shoot-out win over Banbridge in the final; having won the regular league season on goal difference from Three Rock Rovers, it shows how tight the margins are in the men’s top five but Garvey seemingly hold that vital mental edge in a clinch.

And they could conceivably win five titles if they win the Ulster Kirk Cup and the EuroHockey Club Challenge I in the Czech Republic in June.

“To win these two trophies and a massive test against Monkstown, to have that opportunity for the treble is fantastic,” said Daniel Nelson in the wake of the Champions Trophy.

“An Ulster Cup final and a European trip after that! Everyone thinks our season is almost done but we still have a month to go!”

Monkstown, meanwhile, are looking to score their first trophy since 2016 and fifth Senior Cup overall. Their opponent that day? Lisnagarvey with Jonny Bruton striking in the last 90 seconds to earn a shoot-out in which the sky-blues prevailed.

They have eight of that panel still around but Guy Sarratt was unavailable last weekend, their top scorer a big miss from play and corners.

Saturday 30th April 2022
Men
Irish Senior Cup Final:
Monkstown v Lisnagarvey, Belfield, 3.45pm

Women
Irish Senior Cup Final:
Pembroke Wanderers v Catholic Institute, Belfield, 1.30pm

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Pegasus end in eighth at EHL FINALS with Three Rock sixth in EHL CUP

Pegasus finished their maiden Euro Hockey League campaign on an upbeat note despite back-to-back defeats as Katie McKee scored a first Irish goal in the elite competition in the dying moments against England’s Surbiton.

They fell 2-1 in that one, ending up in a share of seventh place, the predicted outcome as the tournament’s lowest seeds but coach Craig McGrugan was left with plenty to take from the weekend in Amsterdam.

On Friday, they were put to the sword by Den Bosch, the greatest club side ever assembled with 16 European titles in the past 20 years with Frédérique Matla scoring four times in a 9-0 result.
A day later, Pegasus were well in the contest against English eight in-a-row champions Surbiton with the sides going in at 0-0 at half-time in their classification match.

Both Taite Doherty and Katie McKee went close off the back of some lovely stickwork from Lucy McKee and they were defensively sound with Shirley McCay and Megan Todd holding the fort.

The Londoners, though, took the initiative with two goals in a three minute period in the third quarter with Meg Dowthwaite poking home from close range and Sarah Evans scoring an innovative penalty corner.

Late on, Katie McKee scored an absolute peach of a goal to get one back and it gave a positive note for the tournament’s lowest ranked side who qualified all the way back in 2019.

Since then, with two Covid-abandoned seasons, the side has had a massive injection of young players with four teenagers running out in front of the big Wagener Stadium house.

“Very tough weekend,” said McGrugan reflecting on the games. “They don’t come any tougher than Den Bosch – that goes without saying. It was quite an experience for most of the girls; we had 11 or 12 in the group who hadn’t played European club hockey before so a great experience for them, the younger players and the future of our club. It was very difficult to stick with them.

“Today, I think Surbiton played better than they did against Gantoise [in the quarter-final] and stretched us a bit but we stuck at it and it was nice to finally to get a goal on the scoreboard. A tough weekend but a great experience.”

McGrugan will quickly get to see how much the games stand to his side. They are back in action in the EY Champions Trophy quarter-finals against UCD on Wednesday night. A win would qualify them for the semi-finals which will be next Saturday at Banbridge.

“It’s now important the girls recover. They have another big game on Wednesday night against UCD who we know very well, another good side who play nice hockey. It will be tough but this is what it is all about.”

Dromore became the first girls team to take part in EHL U14 competition and acquitted themselves impressively in their three encounters.

They started off against Spain’s Junior FC with Lara Wilson on the mark in a 3-1 defeat before putting it up to Belgium’s Waterloo Ducks (0-3) and closing out the campaign against Dutch giants Den Bosch (0-4).

The side was cheered on by a big travelling contingent having originally qualified for the event which was due to be played in 2020. It featured national champions from the top six nations of the EuroHockey ranking list.

On the men’s side, Three Rock Rovers finished in sixth place at the EHL Ranking Cup in Terrassa. They came unstuck against HC Rotterdam 6-0 in the first game but bounced back to beat Austria’s Post SV.

Ben Johnson got a hat trick in the 5-2 win, starting the scoring in the fourth minute while his side struck four more in the third quarter with Ross Canning, Johnson and Peter Blakeney all adding to the tally in quick succession.

For Blakeney, it was his first EHL goal since October 2008, the longest gap between goals by a player in the EHL’s history.

They fell a day later 7-1 to Hampstead & Westminster with Blakeney scoring his second of the weekend but they were never in the contest. It means a sixth place finish,

Elun Hack, Three Rock Rovers Head coach summed up the weekend: “We are disappointed with the performance today, I don’t think we gave a good account of ourselves, but it is a young side and we wanted to kind of manage ourselves ahead of the Irish playoffs next weekend.

Three Rock Rovers celebrate against Post SV. Pic: Stanislas Brochier/World Sport Pics

“I think they did give a good account of themselves against Rotterdam, despite of the score. In phases we were good, but against good sides, you get punished for errors.”

On lessons for their important games next weekend he added: “We played here at a much higher intensity than we would on some weekends at home, so I’m hoping that we can bring that to next weekend. Of course, we are facing quality sides, so we will need to be at our best.”

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Pegasus and Three Rock face double Dutch challenge in Europe

Pegasus and Three Rock Rovers are going double Dutch on Friday in their opening Euro Hockey League matches this weekend, facing what look like the toughest possible draws first up.

For Pegasus, they are in Amsterdam for the top tier EHL FINALS in a knock-out eight-team competition. In the strange Covid world, the Belfast side qualified for the competition as Ireland’s last formal champion, dating back to 2019’s EY Champions Trophy.

It means the side that qualified for the competition has undergone a number of changes in personnel and has also attempted to peak for the tournament a couple of times only for the postponement notices to go up.

“It seems like a lifetime ago we qualified for the EHL so finally getting to play is really exciting and I know the entire squad can’t wait to play against some of the best club teams out there,” she said.

“It has been strange to try and prepare now more than once but we are just relieved to be able to participate, finally. It has its positives and negatives being postponed for so long; we now have players who no longer play or have had children since we were due to play who will miss out, but we have also got the chance to develop some of our younger teammates.”

In the KO8, they are up against Den Bosch who are – without question – the greatest club side Europe has ever seen. They are the reigning EHL champions and have won 16 of the last 20 top tier Euro competitions, including a run of 12 successive victories between 2000 and 2011.

To that end, Maguire knows it will be a rare battle: “Yes, we certainly realise Den Bosch is the toughest opponent given their incredible record. We are not naive to the fact that it will be the toughest game we will have ever played in a Pegasus shirt, but it is such an opportunity to play against the best there is, and anything we take from this game is bonus.”

But what better arena to prepare for a huge run-in to the domestic season as they will return for an EY Champions Trophy quarter-final against UCD next Wednesday.

“We finished third in the league which, at the start of the season, we might have been happy with, but seeing how close the season finished we feel we could have pushed that bit further.

Pegasus’s Ruth Maguire on the attack against Muckross. Pic: Adrian Boehm

“We still have at least another three games to play after the tournament, so it is hard to have the focus for EHL and for the ‘business end of the season’ but our approach is simple- take one game at a time.”

How they fare on Friday will determine what their classification matches series looks like over the weekend.

For Three Rock, they are in their second EHL competition of the season, taking on the EHL Cup in Terrassa, Spain having played in the Ranking Cup last October as well.

Coach Elun Hack says his side “obviously made excellent progress” since then. There, they were undone by HC Minsk and Hampstead & Westminster with a new look team but Rovers have gone on to have a productive domestic season, winning the Leinster Mills Cup and only missing out on the EYHL regular season title on goal difference.

“We were a new team, thrown together last minute, but to have ended our regular season level on points with a really well established team like Garvey, shows in itself the progress that has been made.

“The plan now is keep building on the squad as we go, and hopefully do well in EHL, not only results wise as the opposition are some of the best in Europe, but well in terms of hitting our own goals and objectives, and get some good momentum going into the important playoff weekend.”

They are close to full strength but will miss Luke Adams for the weekend. Their KO8 tie is against HC Rotterdam who feature the EHL’s all-time highest goalscorer Jeroen Hertzberger along with Olympians Justen Blok and speedster Thijs van Dam.

Rotterdam, however, have been slightly off-kilter this season and sit ninth in the Dutch league which maybe offers some opportunity.

Three Rock Rovers with their Mills Cup trophy in March. Pic: Adrian Boehm

“Rotterdam, or any Dutch team is always going to be a challenge,” Hack added. “The level that these teams play at week in and week out, is much higher than we are used to or exposed to, so they will always have the upper hand.

“The talent in their squad and ability of their star players, will always pose a massive challenge. They are struggling, and that does mean some light at the end of the tunnel for us, but sometimes a weekend like EHL, can be the spark that they need.

“We will naturally give it our best shot, we are representing both TRR and Ireland, and want to give the best account of both that we possibly can, and miracles do happen; you just never know when and where.

“If we give our best, and play at a 9 or 10 out of 10, then who knows… but it will certainly be a really good challenge. It’s a great opportunity for our lads to test themselves against some of the best players in Europe.”

Like Pegasus, a win on Friday would put them into the top four playoffs while a loss lead into the fifth to eighth playoffs.

Friday, April 15th (times Irish)
Men
EHL Cup, KO8:
Three Rock Rovers v HC Rotterdam, Club Egara, 1.15pm

Women
ABN AMRO EHL FINALS KO8:
Pegasus v Den Bosch, Wagener Stadium, 10.30am

Saturday, April 16th – Monday, April 18th
Classification matches – to be confirmed

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EYHL Division 2’s big playoff weekend at Whitechurch Park

The journey to EY Hockey League promotion and Division 2 glory reaches its final destination this weekend at Whitechurch Park with eight hopefuls battling it out for glory. 

The host club made it through to the final four with a hugely impressive 5-0 home win over Cork C of I last weekend with Jessica McGrane scoring twice, adding to goals from Christina Seggie, Ciara Vincent and Lauren McGrane.

They will be hoping to delight the home crowd when they meet at 3pm on Saturday afternoon in their semi-final which doubles as a direct battle for one of the two promotion spots on offer.

Standing in their way are Monkstown who have been in imperious form this season, winning the Leinster League Division One and topping their group with eight wins out of eight.

Monkstown’s Anna O’Flanagan. Pic: Deryck Vincent

They have only lost one match across the Leinster league and EY Division 2. That was, however, their most recent one when – with the title in the bag – Corinthian were good value for a 3-2 success.

It ups the ante for this showdown and both sides are packed with goals. The McGranes between them have already accounted for over 30 goal between them for the reds while Town’s Olympians Chloe Watkins and Anna O’Flanagan, dovetailing with Emily Kealy, Sophie Moore and Olivia Brady, have helped the club score over 130 times this campaign.

The other women’s promotion place will be determined from an all-Ulster clash with Premier League champions Ards coming up against Queen’s in the fourth game on Saturday afternoon (5pm).

Ards Katie Kimber takes on Corinthian’s Camila Arbulo. Pic: Adrian Boehm.

Queen’s have quite a gap to Ards in their regional division – with plenty of games to catch up on – but they have shown in recent weeks their intent, running up high scores and clean sheets against Lurgan (4-0), Cork C of I (5-0) and UCC (5-0 in the quarter-final) to reach this stage.

A factor has been Zoe Wilson’s introduction. She joined the club in the middle of her recuperation from an ACL injury and has finally got to make her debut in recent times. The World Cup silver medalists has cracked home three goals in EYHL2 games already and, along with Erin Getty and Jessica McMaster, brings crucial know-how to the table.

Ards, meanwhile, progressed through their group stage unbeaten with seven wins in succession, adding to an opening day draw, with 28 goals along the way while they only faltered once in their regional league.

Olympian Zara Malseed is one of the most ruthless forwards around and there is a mixture of youth and indoor international experience in their line-up with Amy Benson, Katie Kimber, Alanah Doyle and Caroline Adams all donning the green at different points.

Queen’s following their 4-0 win over Lurgan

The men’s semi-finals begin the day’s action with another pair of enticing showdowns between Ulster and Leinster rivals.

In the quarter-finals, Instonians eased to a 5-1 victory over Bandon with Olympians Mark Gleghorne and Mikie Watt accounting for the first three of the goals to set them up for a date with Railway Union.

It is a renewal of their group stage rivalry with both sides winning a game each by a single goal to date. The Dubliners lost their unbeaten record on the final day of the Leinster league season when they fell to Avoca 3-2 last Saturday.

Nonetheless, it was enough to win the league crown ahead of the Blackrock side on head-to-head meetings, winning their first Leinster encounter 7-1. Railway backed that up with a Neville Cup final win on Sunday against YMCA and now go in search of more honours.

Instonians Mark Gleghorne. Pic: Billy Pollock

Theirs is a team built on vast experience with Kenny Carroll, Rob Abbott, Fergal Keaveney, Karl Chapple, Rob Devlin, Richie Forrest, Stephen O’Keeffe, David McCarthy and Mark English all around from their Irish Senior Cup final run of 2012. English has amassed over 80 goals this campaign in all competitions.

Inst, meanwhile, have lots of knowledge to draw on with captain Stephen Kelso, Chris Kirk, Ben Palmer, Andrew Corry and William Robinson all part of their side during their last campaign in the top tier.

The Shaw’s Bridge club are in a straight shoot-out with Cookstown, the other Ulster side involved in this weekend’s playoffs, as they go up against Clontarf at 12.30pm.

Railway Union with the Neville Cup last Sunday. Pic: Max Fulham

Both Inst and the Co Tyrone side are unbeaten in the Ulster Premier, drawing with each other, to show their strength with Cookstown putting it up to EYHL sides in the Irish Senior Cup, knocking out Pembroke and pushing Monkstown to the wire in the semi-finals.

They have a wealth of young talents coming through in Max Anderson, Jack Haycock, Ewan Cruickshank, Josh Anderson and Mark Cuddy, guided by old hands Ewan Butler, Mark Crooks and Paul Thompson.

Clontarf made it through a quarter-final thriller against Cork Harlequins last Saturday. They looked on course for a comfortable day out when Sam Grace scored a pair of goals but Jamie Venner nabbed one back and a Jack O’Meara equaliser sent the game to shoot-out – after a heavily debated David Vincent effort was ruled out. 

The Bulls prevailed with Timmy Cullen slotting their winner. John Mullins is a key presence having won a series of all-Ireland titles during his stint with Three Rock Rovers with captain David Power a strong influence in the spine of the side. 

Cookstown’s Max Anderson. Pic: Adrian Boehm

They are the only side in the final four yet to play in the top tier and so will be regarded as outsiders.

Each of Saturday’s winners will earn promotion along with a place in Sunday’s final where the EY Division 2 titles will be presented.

Adult tickets for each day are available on the gate for €10 with schoolchildren tickets €5.

 

EY Division 2 finals weekend (all at Whitechurch Park)

Saturday 9th April 2022

Men

Semi-finals: Railway Union v Instonians, 10.30am; Cookstown v Clontarf, 12.30pm

 

Women

Semi-finals: Monkstown v Corinthian, 3pm; Ards v Queen’s, 5pm

Sunday 10th April 2022

Men’s final: 1pm

Women’s final: 3.30pm

Clontarf’s Timmy Cullen celebrates his shoot-out winner. Pic: Deryck Vincent

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Corry hails total squad effort as Garvey land men’s EYHL crown

Men’s EY Hockey League – day 18 round-up
Banbridge 4 (J McKee, J Moffett, Ph Brown, D Finlay) Lisnagarvey 4 (O Kidd, B Nelson, A Williamson, J Lorimer)
Lisnagarvey survived a real final day scare to land the men’s EY Hockey League title following a heart-stopping final day of the season.

The Comber Road men needed just a draw to secure the title ahead of Three Rock Rovers and they looked to be cruising with 15 minutes to go as they led 4-3 against Banbridge while the Dubliners trailed against Monkstown.

But three wild minutes made for a tense close to an epic campaign as Rovers turned things around with Ben Johnson and Harry MacMahon both scoring to land a 3-2 success at Rathdown in the dying seconds.

Simultaneously, Banbridge levelled through Jonny McKee from the penalty spot to make it 4-4 while Garvey needing to hold on for the last eight minutes.

There were Bann chances but their Ulster rivals hung tough to allow James Corry to lift the regular season title for the third time in this full-season format.

For skipper James Corry, he said the only word they got of what was happening elsewhere came in the closing 10 minutes.

“We heard Three Rock had won 3-2 and we had just gone 4-4 with Jonny McKee scoring that stroke. It was basically just to hold out and hope for the best but I think we managed it well; there wasn’t that many chances for Banbridge. Obviously, there were a wee bit of nerves! It was always going to be tough and Bann would never make life easy for us!

“You could nearly tell by the atmosphere of the crowd Three Rock had won because the Garvey fans were very quiet.”

It was an afternoon of roller-coasting emotions as Garvey led 1-0 and 2-1 with Ben Nelson and James Lorimer scoring, Josh Moffett getting the credit for the Bann goal which went in via a defensive foot. 

Philip Brown levelled at 2-2 from a corner and they put the cat among the pigeons when David Finlay put the Havelock hosts in front. Vitally for Garvey, Andy Williamson equalised and, with 20 minutes left, Ollie Kidd gave an extra buffer before the late nerves began to set in once again.

McKee’s stroke had hearts fluttering but Errol Lutton’s side took the spoils, taking the league on goal difference and a guaranteed European spot.

Looking back on the season as a whole, Corry cited their 2-2 draw with Corinthian as the result which lit the fire in the team after a rollercoaster mid-season run which saw the lead change hands in the league for six successive rounds. 

After that, Garvey were imperious, crucially beating Three Rock and running up five successive wins, scoring 23 goals in the process.

“That result against Corinthians where we were 2-0 up with two minutes to go, we always said we hope don’t lose the title on that one. It gave us the kick up the backside that we needed. Any big game we have had in the past few weeks, we seem to have dealt with them pretty well. 

“I don’t know what it was; every team will have those off days but we played well that day and just got caught those last few minutes. We bounced back superbly and credit to the boys.

“The depth in the squad; we have had a lot of players out with injury and Covid and have used about 22 boys. When people aren’t stepping up, others have stepped up to the task. We were missing James Lorimer and Andy Williamson for the Three Rock games, our two flickers, but Ollie Kidd and Andy Edgar stood up and got one each. The younger boys have that bit more experience and can deal with the pressure.”

 

Monkstown 2 (J Duncan, J Henry) Three Rock Rovers 3 (B Johnson 2, H MacMahon)

Three Rock Rovers dug out another last-ditch comeback to ensure the men’s EY Hockey League season drama went down to the final minutes as they snatched a 3-2 win over Monkstown having trailed going into the last 10 minutes.

The first half was a scoreless affair but high on quality with both sides counter-attacking at pace and winning a couple of corners; goalkeepers David Fitzgerald and Conor Quinn were the key men, making a number of good blocks.

The second half burst to life with three goals in as many minutes seeing Town edge into a 2-1 lead. Lee Cole made a brilliant tackle on the edge of his own D and ripped a pass up to Jazze Henry whose first time touch set Jeremy Duncan through on the gallop. He was shadowed wide but still clipped a perfect shot into the top corner.

Rovers were level with an exquisitely executed move between Matteo Romoli, Evan Jennings and Ben Johnson who burst through the middle and slid home a shot on his backhand. 

The sky blues returned to the lead within seconds with David Nolan bursting through the middle; his shot was blocked by Quinn but Henry swooped to slap in to make it 2-1 in the 39th minute.

It remained that way until nine minutes to go as Rovers had one disallowed for a foot guiding the ball into the roof of the net. They got level when a right-wing surge broke the way of Johnson who roofed a reverse from the top of the D, another spectacular goal.

Rovers took off their goalkeeper to chase an equaliser but were almost undone when Rex Dunlop’s foul conceded a yellow card and a penalty corner. The combination of Romoli and goal-line specialist Harry MacMahon cleared from Lee Cole and Geoff Cole strikes on goal, the latter at waist-height.

In the next play, Rovers picked the ball off the Monkstown defence with Romoli finding Ryan Spencer who flicked to the back post where MacMahon was waiting to score his first of the season.

 

Pembroke Wanderers 6 (E Albers 2, J Dale 2, E Foy, A Sothern) UCD 2 (J Filgas, E Ramsay)

Pembroke got the result they needed to stay alive in the men’s EY Hockey League and, after a nervous 45-minute wait, had their place confirmed in the top tier for 2022/23.

They did, however, fall behind just 30 seconds into this contest against already relegated UCD with Peter Lynch feeding the ball into Josh Filgas who pushed for a deflection but the ball made it all the way to the backboard unimpeded.

Less than two minutes were on the clock when Pembroke equalised as Julian Dale’s cross was picked up by Ewout Albers who snuck in a near post shot. It was his first goal for the club in the EYHL and he added another 10 minutes later with a cracking reverse from the top left of the D.

 

Ewout Albers scores Pembroke’s first goal. Pic_ Adrian Boehm

A sprawling Eric Foy cracked in another from mid-circle and it was 4-1 soon after when Nick Burns picked out Alan Sothern with acres of space to run into. The ace marksman thrashed this one into the top corner. 

UCD replied with Ewan Ramsay deflecting a corner move into the top corner to cut the gap back to 4-2 at half-time. The second half was more circumspect with the third quarter scoreless before Dale finished the campaign with a flourish. He fired in a brilliant shot for 5-2 with 11 minutes to go. 

He dragged in another to complete the part of the equation they could control, leaving just a nervous wait to see how YMCA would do against Corinthian.

 

Corinthian 1 (M Neill) YMCA 2 (A Walker, R Henderson)

YMCA copper-fastened their place in the EYHL quarter-final with the result seeing the reds drop down to the second tier in ninth place, falling below Pembroke.

The first half was tense and nervy with chances at a premium with the pick of the openings falling to Ethan McInerney but his reverse was deflected over the bar.

The Y went in front in the second half to put Corinthian in jeopardy, knowing Pembroke were well in the clear at Serpentine Avenue, with Adam Walker propelling a corner shot into the top corner.

YMCA found out mid-match their place in the top six was confirmed but they did not take the foot off the gas as they doubled their lead at the start of the fourth quarter. Harry McCarthy embarked on a long run before setting up Ross Henderson to finish off. 

With everything on the line, Corinthian piled forward and ran up a number of corners and got one back when Max Neill scored despite a mistrapped setup at the top. They earned another series of corners chasing the draw they needed but Paebo Lembethe scrambled one off the line while Jakim Bernsden brilliantly saved another to break the Corinthian hearts.

 

 

Glenanne 2 (S Boucher, A Clayton) Annadale 0

First half goals from Shannon Boucher and Adam Clayton gave Glenanne a 2-0 win that saw them move up to fourth place in the table and a home quarter-final date with Monkstown next Saturday.

Boucher tucked in at the back post from a right-wing cross in the ninth minute and Clayton deflected in the second in the second quarter. Dale finish in seventh place as a result.

The match was Richard Fairman’s last as Annadale coach as he announced he will be stepping back from his role due to family commitments.

It brings to a close three years in the role, two of them interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. This season, they ended a run of 25 top tier games, dating back to February 2019, without a victory when they beat UCD 4-0 to steer them to safety..

John Stephens, Annadale Club Chairman said: “We would like to thank Richard for all he has done for the club during his time here. His commitment and enthusiasm throughout these times was second to none. We totally understand him wanting to spend more time with his young family and everyone at Annadale Hockey Club wish him all the best for the future.”

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Midleton, Bandon, King’s Hos and Banbridge battle for Tasmanian Shield

The unique 2021/22 Tasmanian Shield All-Ireland Schoolboys Championships will be decided on Wednesday with Banbridge Academy, Bandon Grammar, Midleton College and King’s Hospital vying for the title.

This season, to avoid Covid complications in the usual October slot, the 16-team tournament was spread over five months, building this week’s semi-finals and final which will take place in Dublin 16.

Both the semis are on at Grange Road at 11am with 2015 champions Banbridge – the most recent winners from this quartet – up against Midleton who are looking to reach their first ever final having made it to the final four back in 2010.

King’s Hos are another looking to reach the final for the first time; they meet Bandon who reached three successive finals between 2003 and 2005, winning at the third attempt. The final will be played at 4.30pm in Wesley College

The Herbie Sharman Trophy will also have its final four play out; Friends will play Wesley in Booterstown while St Andrew’s are up against High School at St Columba’s in the semi-finals with the final to be played at Wesley at 2.30pm.

 

Tasmanian Shield

Banbridge Academy

The Banbridge Academy boys have worked hard this season and have been very successful thus far. With a number of Irish and Ulster Under-16 and Under-18 players in the squad, the team have progressed undefeated in Ulster so far this season. 

Before Christmas, the team defeated Wallace High School in a close final to win the McCullough Cup and then beat Friends’ School in the Ulster Schools’ Burney Cup Final. Twins Charlie and Louis Rowe along with Matthew McKee have become EYHL regulars for Banbridge HC this year, and Ben Pollock, Tommy Dobson and Aaron Baxter have also featured in Ireland’s top league on numerous occasions. 

Cody Large will hope to be back to his best after a recent illness, and Seb Best is striving to get fully fit after a long-standing injury. Head Coach Simon Jess is desperate to get his hands on the coveted Tasmanian Shield after missing out a number of years ago. 

Banbridge Academy

In his first full season in charge of the 1st XI in 2018, his troops dismissed the powerhouses of both Wesley College and St Andrew’s only to fall at the final hurdle to surprise winners Newtown. The covid pandemic took away the opportunity for two talented Banbridge squads to win the ultimate prize, so they could not be more motivated to go all the way this season. It would be a fitting way to celebrate Mark Cordner’s 25 years of steering boys’ hockey in the Academy.

Squad: 1. Connor Part (GK) 3. Luke Watt. 4. Aaron Baxter. 5. Seb Best. 6. Ben Walker. 7. Adam McKee. 8. Ben Pollock. 9. Josh Brownlee. 10. Matthew McKee (VC). 11. Tommy Dobson. 12. Charlie Rowe (C). 13. James Evans. 14. Cody Large. 15. Matthew Spence. 17. Matthew Stevenson. 19. Lukas Moles. 20. Ben Farson. 24. Denver Golbey (GK)

Coach: Simon Jess; Assistant Coach: John Clarke; Manager: Colin Walker. Teacher in Charge: Mark Cordner.

 

Bandon Grammar School

Bandon Grammar School come into the All-Irelands in great shape having won Section One of their group with success against Friends School, Cookstown High and Newpark while they have also taken the Munster Senior A league and the cup crown last week with success against Midleton.

Irish underage players like Mark Collins, Ian Perrott, Callum McCourt and Sam Dale are the key players while goalkeeper Harry Forsey has impressed on the club front with Bandon HC. 

Squad: 1. Harry Forsey GK 5. Ian Perrott (VC) 6. Trenton Spencer 4. Josh Hamilton-Foott   2. Tiarnan Brown 3. Alan Buttimer 17. Jamie Horgan 10. Mark Collins (Capt) 9. Callum Mc Court 16. Sam Dale 8. Angus Seigne 19. Justin Lucas 20. Glen Gash 11. Conor Hoban 7. Charlie Gilbert 13. Gustav Von Der Schulenberg 14. Ewan Cullinane 18. Sean Landy GK

Manager: Melvin Buttimer; Head Coach: Ashley Smyth; Assistant Coach: Ross Smyth.

Bandon Grammar School

 

King’s Hospital 

The King’s Hospital management team of Angus Dunlop and Peter Caruth may argue that this year’s squad have overachieved in getting to a Leinster Schools cup final, and the last four of the All Irelands. With only three sixth years in the squad, the KH side were looking to be competitive in the league, with a view to pushing on next year with a more experienced side. 

However, momentum gained during the All-Irelands group stages, carried the team to a cup final date with Wesley, and a second All Ireland semi-final in two successive attempts. KH were beaten in the semi-final by eventual winners High School the last time the tournament was played in 2019.

The backbone of the team is made up of Leinster representatives Bryan Lydon and Andrew Crowe in defence, with Rex Dunlop pulling the strings in midfield, and Cian Tucker a dangerous presence in the opposition circle. The squad have also benefited from this year’s intake into the boarding house in KH, with three German students prominent during the cup run.

Their group run saw them pick up a morale boosting 3-0 win over St Andrew’s in the group stages while the turning point in the season came in a tricky second round tie away to Sullivan Upper. 2-0 down after five minutes, the team rallied to win a thriller 6-4, Tucker with a hat-trick in a gutsy squad performance. Ashton were well beaten in the final group game, as KH qualified form the semi finals with an unblemished three from three.

Squad: 1. Michael O’Leary 2. Ruairi Lyons 4. Henry Thompson 5.Casper von Kries 6. Moritz Titho 7. Rex Dunlop 9. Cian Tucker 10. Bryan Lydon 12. Colm Gaffney 13. Scott Kenny 14. Dylan Ronan 15. Jake Quinn 16. Jordan Awunah 17. Andrew Crowe 18. Philip Cole 19. Alex Derrien 20. Josh McDonald 21. Cian O’Dowd

Coach: Angus Dunlop; assistant coach: Peter Caruth; goalkeeper coach: Sean Butler; manager: Derek Tucker

 

King’s Hospital

Midleton College (pictured above)

The east Cork side went through in the most dramatic fashion possible as they edged a three-way tie on points with their goals scored column being the ultimate decider in Section 4. 

With their group games complete – two draws and a 5-0 win over Methody – they had to wait and hope for High School and Wallace HS to draw and so it came to pass, their 11 goals scored in three games proving the decisive factor. They also reached the Munster Schools Cup final but were undone by Bandon GS in the final.

Johnny Spillane is the top scorer and captain and he is backed up by Leaving Cert students Ben and David Ryan, Paul Curtin and Arron Brohkorb who provide solidity across the midfield and defensive lines.

Up and coming young players Evan Bolster, Sean Curtin, Daragh Daly and Robert Olden play a key role, too. Mult-talented Kyle Read, Eoghan Smyth and Richie Daly commit to hockey within the school even with a huge commitment with club and provincial rugby as part of the extended Munster underage panels, reaching the regional Under-16 Schools Cup final. Bailey Stuart dons the pads with Ronan Murphy strong in defence.

Squad: 1. Bailey Stuart (Gk), 2 Sean Curtin , 3.David Ryan (Vc),4. Arron Brohkorb, 5. Darragh Daly , 6.Ronan Murphy, 7.Ben Ryan, 8. Paul Curtin, 9.Kyle Read, 10. Johnny Spillane (Capt), 11 Robert Olden , 12.Andrew Sweetnam, 13 Daniel Spillane, 14. Evan Bolster, 15 Richard Daly, 16 Oscar Curtin , 17 Eoghan Smyth (Gk), 18 . Bruno Riviere

Coach: Clive Seale; Manager: Eric Callendar

 

Herbie Sharman Trophy

High School

The 2019 overall winners are looking to win an All-Ireland schools title for a second successive campaign. They missed out on the main semi-finals on goals scored to Midleton in a slightly frustrating season in which they are unbeaten in league on all fronts but have not quite translated that into silverware to date. In the Leinster league, they drew with both St Andrew’s and Wesley along with winning against King’s Hospital 4-1 while they bowed out in the cup semi-final to eventual winners Wesley 3-2. 

Ben Pasley, Charlie Beattie, Alex Lynch, Sam Maxwell, Tom Whelan, Oscar Pasley and Isaac Lindsey are all part of Leinster squads while their Senior 2 side won the Leinster Senior Trophy and their league section, showing good strength in depth.

Squad: Luke Stevens GK, Darragh Sullivan, Luke Fitzpatrick, Sam Walsh, Marcus Empey, Sean O’Brien, Eli Breen (Captain), Charlie Beattie, Sam Maxwell, Oscar Loftus, Alex Lynch, Tom Whelan, Oscar Maguire, Adam Hearne (GK), Oscar Pasley, Isaac Lindsey, Chris DeLacy, Andrew Robinson, Matthew O’Doherty.

Coach: Paul Fitzpatrick, Assistant Coach: David Howard, Manager: Sarah Gray, Physio: Aliceia Rugg

 

Friends School

After a slow start to season the team are finding a little better form post-Christmas and progressed to the Burney Cup final. Ulster U18 player Mackenzie Connor carries the goal threat having scored 36 goals already this season. Captain Jamie Anderson leads the side from defence and he is supported by Ulster U18 goalkeeper Scott Hosick. The Archbold brothers have also represented Ulster and pose an attacking threat.

Squad: 1 Scott Hosick GK, 2 Finn Markwell, 3 Tom Archbold, 4 Ben Aughey, 5 Scott PAtterson, 6 Ethan McDonagh, 7 Harry Archbold, 8 Alex Irwin, 9 Robbie MAyne, 10 MAckenzie Connor VC, 11 Callum Mohan, 12 NAthan Cherry, 13 Thomas Edwards GK, 14 Jamie Anderson C, 15 Carter McClure, 16 Adam Neill, 17 Harry Barbour, 18 Joel Wilkinson

Coach: Craig Cunningham, Asst Coach: Ollie Kidd, Manager: Robin McKay

 

Wesley College

The Leinster Senior Cup and League winners just missed out on a semi-final berth when Banbridge Academy got the best of them 2-0 in the final round of fixtures. They go into the Herbie Sharman Trophy where they will meet Friends School in the semi-final.

Squad: 1 Harvey Burgess, 3 Andrew Fox, 4 Alex Mulligan, 5 Ben Keating, 6 Josh Gill, 7 Sam Smalley, 8 Ben Stewart, 9 Alex Keyes, 10 Mark Smyth, 11 Ed Collins, 12 Andrew Brown, 13 Pierce Ryan, 14 Conor Walsh, 16 Ben Nathan, 17 Gordon Bernon, 20 Andrew Armitage, 21 Sam Chapman, 22 Peter Walker

Head coach: Natalie Fulton, Assistant coaches: Brinsley Powell, Jonathan Harte; Manager: Kathryn Henderson

 

Tasmanian Shield

Semi finals: Midleton College v Banbridge Academy, Grange Road, 11am; King’s Hospital v Bandon GS, Grange Road, 11am

Final: Wesley College, 4.30pm 

 

Herbie Sharman Trophy

Semi finals: Friends School v Wesley College, Booterstown, 10.30am; St Andrew’s v High School, St Columba’s, 10.30am

Final: Wesley College, 2.30pm

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EYHL2 playoff places to be finalised as groups come to a close

The men’s and women’s EY Hockey League playoff places will be finalised on Saturday with elements to be decided in each of the five different groups.

Men’s Pool 2 has just one game but looks like the one with the most intrigue. Last week, Harlequins, though, gave themselves a fighting chance in Group B thanks to a 2-1 win over Kilkeel with Harry O’Byrne and Andrew Dale getting the goals.

It puts them top of the three-team group by one point. Quins have finished their matches and so await Kilkeel and Clontarf’s result from next week with numerous permutations at play.

Kilkeel dropped to the foot of Group B as a result but there is only one point separating everyone. A draw would see both Kilkeel and the Bulls go through as would a win for either by a single goal due to the bonus point rule.

And so Quins are hopeful one side will run away with the contest at Kilkeel HS.

In Pool 1, Instonians put in a breathtaking performance to move ahead of Cork C of I in Group A as Mikie Watt and William Robinson scored twice each in a 6-2 success.

It lifted them into second place with a date against bottom side Rathgar to come to secure their place in the playoffs. A losing bonus point will be enough for them while a win and a favour could lift them into the semis.

Railway have the edge at the top of the group but face a C of I side in Garryduff whose promotion hopes are in the last chance saloon, hoping for a big win and then a shock from Rathgar.

Both Cookstown and Bandon will advance from Group 3 but in what order remains to be determined; the Co Tyrone club beat Portrane 4-0 to sit top on goal difference while Bandon defeated Mossley 3-2.

The two group leaders meet on Saturday to determine who will take first spot and a probable place in the promotion playoff semi-finals.

On the women’s side, Pool 1’s major issues look to be done and dusted thanks to Corinthian’s 3-2 comeback success over UCC. It assures them of second spot with the Cork side guaranteed third due to the losing bonus point with Trinity eliminated despite a 3-1 win over Galway.

The only change that can happen to the rankings this week is if Corinthian win big over Trinity and Ards lose by a heavy scoreline. In effect, there needs to be an 11-goal swing in the reds’ favour to take top spot and a semi-final berth. UCC will finish third and in the other quarter-final spot.

In Pool 2, Monkstown are assured of first but if they take the foot off the gas against Lurgan and drop their first points, it could open the door for the Ulster side to overhaul Cork C of I. The Garryduff side moved into playoff contention with a 3-2 away win over NUIG, leaping them above Lurgan – who lost 4-0 at home to Queens – into third place. C of I could land second and a home quarter-final if they win against Queen’s on Saturday thanks to last Saturday’s

EYHL Division 2
Saturday, March 26th
Men
Pool 1:
Cork C of I v Railway Union, Garryduff, 2pm; Rathgar v Instonians, The High School, 2.45pm
Pool 2: Kilkeel v Clontarf, Kilkeel HS, 2.30pm
Pool 3: Cookstown v Bandon, Steelweld Park, 2.30pm; Portrane v Mossley, Donabate LC, 2pm

Women
Pool 1:
Corinthian v Trinity, Whitechurch Park, 3.15pm; Galway v Ards, Dangan, 1pm
Pool 2: Cork C of I v Queens University, Garryduff, 12pm; Monkstown v Lurgan, Rathdown, 2.15pm

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Methody land Kate Russell title after thrilling Salerno finale

Methodist College Belfast won the Kate Russell All-Ireland Schoolgirls Championships for the second time as Jiwon Hong struck what proved to be the vital goal against Salerno at Dangan.

The tournament went down to the wire with Methody needing just a draw in the final game of the competition but a win for Galway hosts Salerno could have seen them nick the title.

And they put themselves in the frame as they led twice with Grace Walsh putting them 1-0 up only for Ruby Tindall to tie things up. Then a spectacular Anna Costello penalty corner early in the second half against had Salerno dreaming of bringing the title back to Connacht for just a third time in its 42 year history.

But Hong snagged the equaliser for Methody to make it 2-2 and they held on for that key result to stay clear in the round-robin table after two intense days.

Overnight, there was a three-way tie on four points with Holy Child Killiney with Crescent Comp and Kilkenny College looking to make a late charge.

It was the Limerick side who started off the day with Holly Doupe and Sarah Fitzgerald putting their first win on the board with a 2-0 success against the cats.

Game two was a thriller with both Salerno and Holy Child remaining unbeaten following a 2-2 draw.

Roisin Heaney finished off an outstanding goal, created by by Ailbhe Folan’s long run, and Folan also netted for the hosts with Olivia Napier and Alex Purcell getting the Killiney efforts.

That opened the door for Methody to jump into the lead when they won 2-0 against Kilkenny, Jen Lamont and Sophie Moffett on the mark.

Crescent guaranteed themselves a medal when Charlotte Horan’s penalty corner goal put them 1-0 to the good against Holy Child.

What shade everyone would get, though, was all to be decided in the final game where Methody added to their 2016 success in memorable fashion.

Kate Russell All-Ireland Schoolgirls Championships
Friday results:
Crescent Comp 2 (H Doupe, S Fitzgerald) Kilkenny College 0; Salerno 2 (R Heaney, A Folan) Holy Child Killiney 2 (O Napier, A Purcell); Kilkenny College 0 Methodist College Belfast 2 (J Lamont, S Moffett); Crescent Comp 1 (C Horan) Holy Child Killiney 0; Salerno 2 (G Walsh, A Costello) Methodist College Belfast 2 (J Hong, R Tindall)

Final Standings: 1. Methodist College Belfast 8pts (+3) 2. Salerno 6pts (+2) 3. Crescent Comp 6pts (0) 4. Holy Child Killiney 5pts (0) 5. Kilkenny College 1pt (-5)