Banbridge are still sitting at the top of the EYHL men’s standings following a 2-1 win over Dublin YMCA at Havelock Park on Saturday after a day of mixed fortunes for the three Ulster sides after Annadale’s away tie with Cork C of I was postponed due to potential travelling difficulties with the inclement weather.
Bann won a battle loaded with penalty strokes to remain at the summit with YMCA left frustrated as they remain bottom despite putting it up to the Co Down side. Johnny McKee opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the first quarter in the lashing rain and they remained with the narrow lead into the half-time break. They bossed the possession stakes but found it tough to break through the compact YM defence with Jakim Bernsden keeping out Josh Moffett and Fraser Mills. Mills was fouled for a second stroke but McKee did not catch his effort properly and Bernstein saved. Within a minute, YM had a stroke of their own but this time, Luke Roleston was the man to save it. Bann strengthened their position when Ireland star Eugene Magee showed great strength to set up new signing from Kilkeel and Ireland under-21 star David Rae at the back post to knock home. Grant Glutz got one back for YM in the last 10 minutes from a spectacular flick and In a fractured end-game, both sides ended with 10 players but Bann stayed ahead for their third win from four games.
However, Lisnagarvey were brought down to earth after last week’s win over Bann as they fell to a 4-1 defeat against Champions Trophy holders Three Rock Rovers in Dublin. Rovers returned from their magnificent Euro Hockey League exploits full of confidence to beat Garvey with something to spare at Grange Road. Garvey did have the first big chance when Matthew Nelson robbed the last defender and seemed to have worked a clear sight of goal but fired over the bar. Rovers started to control the play after that and they went ahead from their second corner with Luke Madeley shooting home. It was 2-0 on the half-hour when Conor Empey whipped in another corner and, but for a couple of top James Milliken saves, it might have been more comfortable. Ten minutes into the second half, it was 3-0 from the move of the game. as two drop-off passes on the right wing were quickly transferred to the left where Ben Walker slapped into the circle. Mitch Darling, who started the move, deflected the bouncing ball home. Garvey did have a strong last 10 minutes with Peter McKibbin’s run only denied by Kevin Mullins clearing off the line while Nelson scored with two minutes to go. Mark English, though, replied a minute later with a first time reverse to Jody Hosking’s slipped pass.
Cookstown’s up and down form continued as Davy Carson’s hat-trick helped Monkstown record their second win of the season, cutting loose against the Tyrone men in the second half to win 6-1.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Dubliners took the lead in the 23rd minute from a corner won by Ross Quirke which Rory Nichols dragged into the bottom corner. Cookstown replied quickly from a set piece with Jack Haycock scoring for the second week running on the rebound. but they only stayed level for four minutes as Carson gobbled up another rebound for 2-1 at half-time. The hosts moved further ahead from yet another penalty corner in the 44th minute, won by Kyle Good who combined with Guy Sarratt to roof a flick. The fourth came before the end of the third quarter when Carson’s shot was touched in by Quirke and Carson added two more in the closing quarter to complete an impressive win.
The opening day of Pool A and B of the newly introduced EY Hockey League Division 2 produced two wildly contrasting ties with the former characterised by two close-run battles while Pool B saw big scorelines. Game of the day came at the Bangor Aurora as the home side won a 3-2 classic thanks to Rhys Cunningham’s late goal against Bandon. The two clubs have developed a healthy rivalry in recent times, the Ulster side winning 5-4 in the play-offs last year while the west Cork team won their Irish Hockey Trophy meeting. Bandon led 2-0 in the lashing rain as Fionn O’Leary and David Jennings hit the net in the first 19 minutes. Matthew Willis got one back two minutes later before Chris Barnes – following a summer move from Instonians – added another to his incredible career tally of goals for 2-2 at half-time. Cunningham scored the only goal of the second half to seal the win.
In Pool B, Instonians and Corinthian stamped their authority on the group with 8-0 and 6-2 wins respectively over UCC and Kilkeel. Olympian Mikey Watt set Inst on their path with a touch to Ben Palmer’s low flick and Watt’s reverse made it 2-0. Stephen Kelso had the third by half-time before a William Robinson stroke and further goals from Kelso, Palmer, Ben Rose and William Carey stretched out a big win.
Corinthian won their road trip at Kilkeel with a comprehensive performance. Andrew Sutton deflected a corner into the net for 1-0 and Ian Stewart’s strike from the top made it two. Jack Perdue and a second Stewart goal made it 4-0 at half-time while Perdue’s second and a Jonathan Roberts goal had them six clear. Kilkeel rallied via a Gareth Russell stroke and an Andrew Niblock goal from Neil Stevenson’s assist.
In the Ulster Premier League, there were wins for Mossley, North Down and Portadown, with the latter’s Stevie Johnston grabbing a hat-trick in the 4-2 win over Queen’s at Edenvilla Park.
Josh Gilmore also scored a treble in North Down’s 7-4 victory over Raphoe in Comber, with Gareth Mckeown weighing in with a double and Johnny Linter and Jordan Lyner also on target for the home team.
Mossley were indebted to ace marksman Jordan Robinson and Ross McIvor, who were on target in the 2-1 win over Belfast Harlequins at the Glade, with Luke McLelland replying for the visitors.
EY Hockey League: Cork C of I v Annadale – postponed; Banbridge 2 (J McKee, D Rae) YMCA 1 (G Glutz); Three Rock Rovers 4 (L Madeley, C Empey, M Darling, M English) Lisnagarvey 1 (M Nelson); Glenanne 6 (S Boucher 2, G Shaw, B Venter, D Keogh, J Rogan) Pembroke 2 (K O’Hare 2); Monkstown 6 (D Carson 3, G Sarratt, R Quirke, R Nichols) Cookstown 1 (J Haycock)
EYHL Division 2: Pool A: Bangor 3 (M Willis, C Barnes, R Cunningham) Bandon 2 (F O’Leary, D Jennings); Railway Union 0 UCD 0
Pool B: Instonians 8 (M Watt 2, S Kelso 2, W Robinson, B Palmer, B Rose, W Carey) UCC 0; Kilkeel 2 (A Niblock, G Russell) Corinthian 6 (I Stewart 2, J Perdue 2, A Sutton, J Roberts)
Ulster Premier: Mossley 2 (J Robinson, R McIvor) Belfast Harlequins 1 (L McClelland); North Down 7 (J Gilmore 3 G McKeown 2, J Linter, J Lyner) Raphoe 4; Portadown 4 (S Johnston 3, R Scott) Queen;s 2 (M Warnock 2)