Cork sides hand debutants tough baptisms in men’s EYHL2

Cork sides Bandon and Cork C of I gave Dublin debutants Portrane and Rathgar a tough baptism in the men’s EY Hockey League Division 2 as they ran up strong wins on the opening day of the competition.

For Bandon, they were 3-1 victors over Portrane in a fast-paced Pool C contest, Fionn O’Leary and Ethan Hamilton-Foott setting the result in the closing quarter.

Ali Smith had put Bandon in front with a sharp finish, nipping in front of his marker to get on the end of right-wing cross. just before the end of the first quarter.

Davy Graham, though, latched onto a through-ball from Imran Khan – an ex-Pakistan and Azerbaijan international – who finished well on the break with a delicate finish by Harry Forsey that went in off the inside of the post.

It remained that way into the final quarter when O’Leary’s shot from out on the left of the D took a heavy deflection and bounced in for 2-1. And the third came when O’Leary picked up an overhead in the corner, worked the ball to Dave Smith who fed Hamilton-Foott for a handy finish.

Elsewhere in the group, Cookstown defeated Mossley 5-1. Neal Glassey – on his return from Germany for the winter – put Mossley in front in the first quarter and they carried that through to half-time.

But Cookstown’s young guns turned things around after the break with a corner goal from Luke Haycock levelling matters in the 37th minute. Two minutes later, Scott McCabe was on the mark and Ulster underage representative Mark Cuddy swept them into a 3-1 lead before the end of the third quarter.

Further goals from Max Anderson and Michael Kerr completed the win in the closing eight minutes.

In Pool A, Instonians won a cracker of a contest against Railway Union 4-3. They prevailed 4-3 with Finley Marney making a key first half penalty stroke save while Mark Gleghorne, Ben Rose, Ben Palmer and Tommy Orr got the goals.

Railway led twice in the first half with Mark English and Karl Chapple on the mark but Rose levelled before half-time and Palmer put his side in front in the third quarter.

Orr made it 4-2 before English got one back in the closing 10 minutes but it only proved enough for a losing bonus point.

For C of I, theirs was a handy 5-0 win at Rathgar with three of those goals coming in the first half. Phil Sweetnam set them on their way in the fourth minute; Rob Sweetnam got the next from a flowing team move and Eoin Finnegan finished with a brilliant low shot into the bottom corner.

Gar, though, held up reasonably well in the second half with stand-in goalkeeper David Meade pulling off a number of stops.

He was swapped out for an extra outfielder in the closing minutes and the move back-fired with Rob Sweetnam and Mark Gallagher completing the victory.

At Farmers Cross, Munster sides were denied a clean sweep of results with a 2-2 draw for Harlequins against Tarf. John McNally put the Dubliners one up in the second quarter before Jack O’Meara equalised from a corner.

Brian Hayes-Curtin’s amazing end-line run put Quins in front for the first time before Davyn Keuter got the Bulls back on terms in the third quarter of an end-to-end tie.

Kilkeel wait in the wings for these two sides in a three-team group from which two sides will advance to the playoffs.

Men’s EYHL Division 2
Pool A:
Instonians 4 (M Gleghorne, B Rose, B Palmer, T Orr) Railway Union 3 (M English 2, K Chapple); Rathgar 0 Cork C of I 5 (R Sweetnam 2, P Sweetnam, E Finnegan, M Gallagher)
Pool B: Cork Harlequins 2 (J O’Meara, B Hayes-Curtin) Clontarf 2 (McNally, D Keuter)
Pool C: Cookstown 5 (L Haycock, M Cuddy, S McCabe, M Anderson, M Kerr) Mossley 1 (N Glassey); Portrane 1 (D Graham) Bandon 3 (A Smith, F O’Leary, E Hamilton-Foott)

Cork Harlequins v Clontarf EYHL2 20-11-21