Lisnagarvey close in on men’s EYHL title with big win over Monkstown

Men’s EY Hockey League – day 17 round-up
UCD 2 (J Menelaou, J Filgas) Banbridge 3 (J McKee, L Witherow, D Finlay)

Banbridge ground out an important three points at Belfield against a gutsy UCD who showed up well despite having little left to play for this term bar pride. It keeps the Ulster club in contention for a possible top two spot and direct qualification for the EY Champions Trophy semi-finals.

Bann went in front in the eighth minute when Jonny McKee flicked in from a penalty corner switch to the right. The students replied quickly with Josh Fligas rebounding from the third wave of a messy penalty corner.

Luke Witherow restored the Co Down club’s lead from a brilliant end-to-end move, set in motion by Peter Brown and McKee’s lovely interchange on halfway.

Luke Witherow celebrates his goal for Banbridge. Pic: Adrian Boehm

But Jay Menelaou got a slightly fortuitous touch to Kevin O’Dea’s crash ball into the D to make it 2-2 at half-time with the students threatened a big shock.

Bann, though, moved in front for a third and final time early in the second half when McKee’s shot was well saved by Matthew O’Brien Holohan but only as far as David Finlay. From a tight angle, he roofed his shot.

McKee and Finlay were frequent threats throughout the tie but O’Brien Holohan was equal to those efforts. When the goalkeeper stepped out for an extra outfielder, it did open a golden chance for McKee when he robbed the ball on halfway but he chipped over on his backhand.

Lisnagarvey 5 (T Chambers 3, M McNellis, M Nelson) Monkstown 1 (L Cole)
Troy Chambers’ hat trick put Lisnagarvey within touching distance of the men’s EY Hockey League title with a breath-taking 5-1 win over Monkstown at Comber Road.

Town went into the tie off the back of six successive victories and they went in front when Lee Cole’s corner shot snuck in.

But Garvey have been in outstanding form in recent weeks and Chambers got them back on terms before half-time and four second half goals saw them spin into a big lead.

Mark McNellis smoked in a shot from a penalty corner breakdown to start the goal-rush; Chambers found space to tomahawk in the next and Matthew Nelson’s back post finish put them well and truly out of range.

Chambers completed his treble in the closing minutes as Garvey move five points clear of Three Rock Rovers in second place.

Annadale 3 (A McAllister, S Pinion, T Robson) Pembroke 2 (C Hynes, A Sothern)
Three Annadale goals in the first 22 minutes helped propel them to safety and within range of snatched a playoff place on the findal dat of the season. For Pembroke, it means they have to beat UCD in the final round of matches and then hope Corinthian don’t do likewise later next Saturday against YMCA.

Dale went ahead from their first attack of note, Callum Robson’s sharp hit on the turn getting a touch in front of the goalkeeper from Adam McAllister after a swift break-out.

Spencer Pinion then pushed in a low corner shot in the seventh minute and it was almost three a couple of moments later when Tim Cross’s shot went just wide.

The game was still barely 10 minutes old when Julian Dale got to a bouncing ball first before Sam Hamill and batted his volley wide just before colliding with the out-rushing goalkeeper as both sides threw everything into the first quarter. Pembroke had three corners to no avail.

Annadale, however, moved three clear when stopper Tom Robson received a corner on his open side and then hit into the left corner.

In the second half, an excellent Ilko Dartsch save denied McAllister a fourth before the Pembroke fightback started in earnest. A long overhead was missed by a defender in the left corner and Dale controlled and forced the ball across where Cillian Hynes got the final touch.

Big chances abounded with Hamill getting the best of a one-on-one chance while McAllister rounded Dartsch but his shot was deemed high and dangerous when it hit Philip Forster on the body with a shot which looked to be heading wide.

Sothern was credited with Pembroke’s second four minutes from the end amid some aerial pinball to make it 3-2 but Dale closed ranks to see out their second win of the campaign against Pembroke.

YMCA 2 (G Glutz, A Meates) Three Rock Rovers 4 (R Spencer 2, E Jennings, A Empey)
Three Rock Rovers moved back up to second in the men’s EY Hockey League as Ryan Spencer and Ali Empey goals in the last 20 minutes saw off YMCA at Wesley.

After a couple of early corners, Rovers went in front via Spencer who finished off from around the p-spot following a baseline run and pull-back.

YM stepped up in the second quarter and had a couple of corner chances go close but Rovers came on strong just before the big interval with Empey’s aerial skills leading to a big chance which goalkeeper Cameron Larkin did well to snuff out. The second goal arrived, though, when Evan Jennings cleaned from a corner on the hooter for 2-0.

The Y, though, were back level in jig-time in the second half when Grant Glutz scored a penalty corner and then Andrew Meates got a beautiful touch to Sam Hyland’s reverse-stick cross for 2-2.

The hosts, however, saw Meates and Ben Chadwick simultaneously sent to the sin-bin and Rovers got back in front in their absence, Empey – in his first game of 2022 – scored via a defensive deflection.

And Empey played a perfect pass to Spencer who was all alone at the top of the YM circle to get the insurance goal.

Glenanne 5 (S O’Donoghue 2, S Boucher 2, R Couse) Corinthian 2 (A Sutton, C Futcher)
Glenanne picked up their 10th win of the season to leave Corinthian with a nervous final day of the men’s EY Hockey League to look forward to next Saturday as they look to survive the drop.

The Glens got off to a great start with Shane O’Donoghue scoring a corner in the third minute and they were 2-0 up via Richard Couse with only eight minutes played.

Corinthian – who were without Peter Caruth, Robbie Clarke and Ben Murphy – did cut the gap with Andrew Sutton scoring his second goal of the season before half-time.

But the game was over early in the second half with Shannon Boucher scoring in both the 39th and 40th minutes. Chad Futcher got one back but O’Donoghue’s stroke copper-fastened the Glens win.