Sunday afternoon saw two semi finals in both the Men’s and Women’s Irish Senior Cup.
In the women’s senior Cup Avoca took on Monkstown in the later of the two games but the other fixture began the day’s events in the Senior Cups.
WOMEN’S SENIOR CUP
Semi-finals are not designed specifically to be entertaining, although on occasion they can be some of the most exciting hockey games you could see, they are merely there to be won.
The earliest game took place in Rosbrien where Catholic Institute buoyed by their 4-1 win over Pegasus in the EYHL the previous day took on Railway Union in their second of back to back home fixtures. This one having the prize of the right to defend their Irish Senior Cup title in the final in 2023 at Belfield on April 29th . In the opposing corner was a Railway Union side battling to make the Champions Trophy play offs but had lost a EYHL game they dominated the day before against Loreto. Catholic Institute were keen not to concede goals on the day and would have been very pleased to have a kept a clean sheet over the 70 tension filled minutes. Railway Union learned lessons well, from their previous recent games , as they kept the hosts at bay for the full 70 minutes and after a 0-0 draw it went to shuttles which Catholic Institute managed to win 4-2.
Geographic proximity can produce interesting and historical rivalries. And two such rivals would face each other in the second semi-final where Blackrock based Avoca took on near neighbours Monkstown . The Skyblues had gained a valuable three points in a relegation six pointer beating Ards the day before in Londonderry Park and had a relatively short skip and jump down the road to Newpark to take on their Leinster Division 1 near neighbours. Avoca took the lead in the 3rd minute through Lizzie Field . Monkstown responded with goals from Sophie Moore and Olivia Brady to secure an Irish Senior Cup final appearance against defending champions Catholic Institute.
MEN’S SENIOR CUP
Monkstown took on Glenanne hoping to make it a Men’s and Women’s Double in terms of Cup Final appearances in 2023. Despite Rory Nichols four goal salvo it wasn’t enough to win the game against a Glenanne scoring seven times for the second time in twenty four hours. Having defeated Instonians 7-1 away the day before , Glenanne had the relatively short trip to Rathdown to take on the Sky Blues in their all Dublin Irish Senior Cup semi-final. Gary Shaw , Shannon Boucher, Jason Rogan , Gavin Gibney and Brad Venter all weighed in with a goal apiece and Richard Couse added a brace of goals in their victory. Glenanne who are looking good for a play off berth in the Champions Trophy could potentially qualify for Europe and bring home the Senior Cup to add to the Mills Cup already won earlier this month.
In the all Ulster clash at Annadale , the visitors were league Leaders Banbridge and after a scorless opening quarter , goals from Johnny McKee and Louis Rowe were enough to create the opportunity for Banbridge to win an EYHL League and Irish Senior Cup double in 2023. Banbridge who were held 4-4 by fellow Cup semi finalists Monkstown the day before can still win the EYHL Championship by winning one game.