Lisnagarvey, YMCA and Monkstown all got off to winning starts in the men’s EY Hockey League while UCD and Glenanne shared the spoils as the elite competition returned to action with a bang.
Garvey looked in great shape to win the title last season before lockdown scuppered their chances but they made an impressive start when striking late to defeat reigning EY Champions Trophy holders Three Rock Rovers 4-2 at Comber Road.
The Ulster side led twice via goals from Ben Nelson – making it five goals in three games in September – but Ben Johnson and Peter Blakeney fought back both times for 2-2 going into the final quarter. James Lorimer, however, struck two corners for the victory.
Monkstown put on a great show both on the pitch and online as they live-streamed their 6-0 win over Corinthian with a four-camera and commentator set-up at the Merrion Fleet Arena.
It took just four minutes for Jeremy Duncan to open his account for the club from a penalty corner rebound while two Lee Cole drag-flicks and a Ryan Spencer strike put them 4-0 up at half-time. Further goals from Max Guilfoyle and Stephen Cole completed their victory.
Grant Glutz overcame an early penalty stroke miss to bag a hat trick for YMCA as they beat Annadale 3-0 at Wesley. The powerful striker applied a spin-flick to break the deadlock in the first half before killing off the game with a pair of rockets in the final quarter.
UCD, meanwhile, snatched a point late on against Glenanne with Guy Sarratt coming up trumps. He exchanged goals with Shannon Boucher to make it 1-1 at half-time before player-coach Shane O’Donoghue edged the Glens in front in the second half. Sarratt, though, created and scored the vital corner for a 2-2 result.
Banbridge against Pembroke was called off on Saturday morning due to a positive Covid-19 case in the Pembroke camp. Following the advice of the HSE, the club were advised not to travel.
Men’s EY Hockey League – week one results: Lisnagarvey 4 (B Nelson 2, J Lorimer 2) Three Rock Rovers 2 (B Johnson, P Blakeney); Monkstown 6 (L Cole 2, J Duncan, R Spencer, M Guilfoyle, S Cole) Corinthian 0; UCD 2 (G Sarratt 2) Glenanne 2 (S Boucher, S O’Donoghue); YMCA 3 (G Glutz 3) Annadale 0; Banbridge v Pembroke – off
October 3rd fixtures: Annadale v Monkstown, Strathearn, time TBC; UCD v YMCA, Belfield, 1pm; Glenanne v Banbridge, St Andrew’s, 1.30pm; Pembroke v Lisnagarvey, Serpentine Avenue, 2pm; Corinthian v Three Rock Rovers, Whitechurch Park, 5pm
Men’s EY Hockey League – day one extended reports
Lisnagarvey 4 (B Nelson 2, J Lorimer 2) Three Rock Rovers 2 (B Johnson, P Blakeney)
Two late James Lorimer penalty corners earned Lisnagarvey a big home win over Three Rock Rovers at Comber Road as their unbeaten run on the national stage was put under huge pressure. Ben Nelson twice gave them a lead before Ben Johnson and Peter Blakeney got it level going into the final stages but Garvey took their chances to start off the campaign with three points.
Nelson continued his goal-a-game September when he finished off from a baseline pull-back after a swift move down the right channel. Johnson equalised with a penalty corner drag-flick but Nelson restored the lead in the third quarter when he took a free in the 23m zone himself and broke through a couple of tackles before sliding in a shot on his reverse.
Ben Walker’s incisive run created the equaliser when he slipped the ball left to Peter Blakeney who swept first-time from the left of the circle to wrong-foot James Milliken. Rovers then had a couple of huge chances to go in front but Milliken denied Ross Canning brilliantly while a corner switch was also repelled.
Garvey held their nerve to provide a double-strike late in the game for a second successive week, backing up last weekend’s Irish Senior Cup success.
YMCA 3 (G Glutz 3) Annadale 0
Grant Glutz scored an opening day hat trick as YMCA recorded a big win over Annadale in a tussle between the sides that finished ninth and tenth last season. He had the chance to open the scoring just a couple of minutes when his drag-flick hit a body on the line; his stroke effort, however, was nonchalent in the extreme and the goalkeeper got down to save with his stick.
Dale had a couple of corners come to nought with Adam McAllister looking dangerous and Jakim Bernsden alert to a bouncing shot. Glutz broke the deadlock before the end of the first quarter from a corner second phase, a spin-flick after Ben Campbell’s initial shot bounced away.
Another Campbell ricocheted off the bar in the second quarter to leave the game at the minimum and it stayed that way through the third quarter despite a quarter of YM corners.
Ben O’Grady had to back-pedal to save a looper off the goal line before Andrew Meates contrived to put a huge chance wide after a smart move.
But the game was settled with the second in the final quarter when Glutz latched onto a loose ball 30 metres out. He had plenty to do still but weaved in between four defenders and struck open an openhand shot from the top D for 2-0. And the third arrived soon after when Dale got in a muddle in their own circle and the ball bounced to Glutz to hit in first time.
Monkstown 6 (L Cole 2, J Duncan, R Spencer, M Guilfoyle, S Cole) Corinthian 0
Monkstown eased to a comfortable victory over Corinthian, scarcely looking back from the moment Jeremy Duncan broke the deadlock in the fourth minute from a penalty corner. It was the perfect start to life in sky-blue for the Irish international in his first match back in Ireland for three years.
David Cole’s raking passes from centre-back through the middle were wreaking havoc and twice Town found themselves close to picking off the reds from such moves. The second came from an intercept which ended up with Duncan winning a corner that Lee Cole – another Irish star back from Belgium – whipped home.
Lee Cole’s brilliant first time pass from the right sideline at halfway created the third, Ryan Spencer again in behind the defence where he had time to slap past Charlie Henderson. Cole went high with his next corner shot for a 4-0 lead at half-time.
The reds came more into the tie in the second half but – after Duncan had one disallowed – they dropped further behind when another long ball was first timed by Nick Dee into the circle. Max Guilfoyle chipped the ball out of traffic and then fired home on his backhand. Stephen Cole completed the scoring eight minutes from the end via a stroke.
UCD 2 (G Sarratt 2) Glenanne 2 (S Boucher, S O’Donoghue)
Honours even from a scrappy battle at Belfield with UCD and Glenanne sharing four goals. The returning Stephen Dawson made two excellent saves early on to keep out Shane O’Donoghue from open play and then to deny Richard Couse.
Shannon Boucher did put the Glens in front when he wrong-footed the goalkeeper to score form a corner in the second quarter but that was countered by Guy Sarratt firing past Iain Walker right on the half-time whistle.
Player-coach O’Donoghue did get his goal with a gliding run through the defence and then a flick which went high into the net. But the defining moment came four minutes from the end when a Glens’ free deep in UCD territory was overturned for dissent.
Sarratt went on a mazy run which ended in a corner which the captain buried into the same spot as his first strike to make it 2-2.