There was no joy for the Ulster men’s teams in the EYHL on Saturday but Pegasus kept the flag flying for the province with an impressive 4-2 away win over Cork Harlequins.
The result leaves them trailing Loreto only on goal difference at the top but Cookstown and Annadale are still in a spot of bother after going down to Pembroke and Glenanne respectively. Cookstown had a heart-breaking day after throwing away a 2-0 lead in the game at Steelweld Park as the Dubliners snatched a 3-2 win.
The Reds got off to a flying start and Pembroke gave away a penalty stroke when they fouled Michael Kerr as he was about to put it over the line but Keith Black’s effort was stopped by the Pembroke goalie. However, soon Cookstown found themselves 1-0 up. Scotty McCabe won a short corner which Kerr put away with a great flick. It got even better a few minutes later when a monster flick by Jack Haycock was touched over the line by Greg Allen.
Pembroke got back into the game in the second quarter winning a series of short corners. A great run and ineffectual tackling allowed Pembroke’s Stephen Sweetnam to make it 2-1 going into half time. The Dubliners drew level in the second half when Greg Chambers got the ball to the baseline, squeezing it goalwards and somehow it contrived to find a way over the line.
Pembroke were in the ascendancy throughout the third quarter and went ahead when Cian Murphy tapped in at the back post for 3-2. Cookstown pressed in the fourth quarter and won five shorts in quick succession but couldn’t get the breakthrough to get something from the game.
“This was incredibly disappointing,” said Cookstown captain, Greg Allen. “We did so well to get into a great position and go 2-0 up. Pembroke played well in that third quarter but their third goal really knocked the stuffing out of us.”
“Although we didn’t manage to get a goal in the fourth quarter I was really proud how our guys picked ourselves up and were able to take the game to Pembroke again. That’s the spirit I like to see.”
Meanwhile Glenanne displaced Banbridge at the top on goal difference as they beat Annadale for the second time this season with a 3-1 success. Shannon Boucher was on the mark twice, scoring his first with a slightly miscued drag-flick in the fifth minute which deceived Johnny Moore.
The Dale keeper was forced into a series of immaculate saves in the second quarter to keep the game tight and they got back level from a corner when Ryan Burgess continued his hot scoring streak – adding to two midweek Kirk Cup goals – as he whipped home by Iain Walker for 1-1 at half-time. The lead was restored in the second quarter via Cedric Jakobi down the glove side in the third quarter and Boucher made it a trio of goals from corners early in the fourth quarter to win the day.
In the Kirk Cup, Troy Chambers hit five of the goals as Lisnagarvey edged closer to a semi-final spot with an 8-1 win over Newry at Comber Road. Garvey face Instonians on Tuesday with a last four place at stake against Bann, who are already through. Annadale are in pole position to progress to a meeting with Cookstown and will go through if they can avoid defeat against Belfast Harlequins on Wednesday.
In the men’s Ulster Premier, Mossley defeated previously unbeaten Instonians 2-1 in the top game with goals from Jordan Robinson and Aaron Boyd with Dane Ward replying. Strikes from Stephen McGrath and Michael Patterson gave Harlequins a 2-1 win over South Antrim at Deramore – their first victory of the season. Michael McClelland and Joel Easlea were on target for Bangor in a 2-0 win at Queen’s while North Down beat Civil Service 3-1 and Raphoe were 2-1 winners away to Antrim.
On the women’s scene, Alex Speers scored her fifth goal of the season to secure Pegasus an important 4-2 EYHL win over Cork Harlequins. It was the Belfast team’s first victory at the Munster venue since the expanded competition’s inception four seasons ago. It was a much-improved Pegasus performance after they had been second best in losing 2-0 to Loreto six days earlier in Belfast.
Speers said: “It was important that we bounced back because we felt we let ourselves down in the Loreto game.”
“It’s always difficult playing in Cork, especially this time as they were determined to get a result after making a poor start to the season. So we were delighted with the win and it was all the more satisfying as we were unable to bring a full squad down and had just 12 players with us.”
Ireland Under-21 striker Taite Doherty scored twice in the opening quarter as Pegasus made a blistering start but Cliodhna Sargent pulled one back from the penalty spot before half-time. Shirley McCay made it 3-1 shortly after the restart from another penalty stroke but Quins responded again through Emily O’Leary. But Pegasus had the final say near the end when Speers finished clinically after swapping passes with Michelle Harvey.
Meanwhile, Lisnagarvey stay top of the Ulster Premier League after coming from behind to end Queen’s 100% record with a 1-1 draw at the Dub. Emily McStea put the students ahead with a well-taken goal in the 12th minute, firing home superbly after latching on to a through ball. But Garvey, inspired by ex-Queen’s midfielder Robyn McKee, hit back to equalise in the 48th minute with a superb goal as Chloe Gillard drove in from the left and shot into the roof of the net.
Garvey coach Adam Louden said: “I thought it was a really good game and both sides played some great hockey.”
“We are happy with the point as we appreciate how hard it is to play against Queen’s and get a result, home or away. The girls deserve tremendous credit as we’d worked on our game plan through the week and executed it well today. It’s still really close at the top and the league in general is still really tight but we are just happy to still be up there competing.”
Elsewhere, Ballymoney and Banbridge fought out an exciting 3-3 draw at the Joey Dunlop Centre while Dungannon were indebted to Leanne Cassells, who got both goals in her team’s 2-0 win over struggling Rainey.
In the Denman Ulster Shield, Brenna McEwen and Francesca Brown got two goals apiece as Ards opened their account with a 4-0 win over Randalstown at Londonderry Park.
In Senior One, Julie Doak scored twice as Club KV continued their impressive form with a 4-1 win at Castle but Raphoe are in equally imperious form, Wendy Patterson hitting a hat-trick in the 3-1 away win over North Down.
Pegasus II progressed in the Irish Junior Cup after Rachael Murdock hit four of the goals in a 6-2 win over Monkstown in the late slot at the Dub.
EYHL: Cork Harlequins 2 (C Sargent, E O’Leary) Pegasus 4 (T Doherty 2, A Speers, S McCay); Muckross 0 Railway Union 2 (H de Burgh Whyte, K Fearon); Old Alex 1 (E Russell) Loreto 2 (A Meeke, H Matthews); UCD 3 (M Carey, N Heisterkamp, L McGuire) Pembroke 1 (S Loughran)
Ulster Premier League: Ballymoney 3 (K Minihan, L Millar, N Parke) Banbridge 3 (O Berry, E Reid, S McCullough); Dungannon 2 (L Cassells 2) Rainey 0; Queen’s 1 (E McStea) Lisnagarvey 1 (C Gillard); Senior One: Castle 1 (K McIlroy) Club KV 4 (J Doak 2, J Orr, L Kelly); North Down 1 (K Sinclair) Raphoe 3 (W Patterson 3).
Denman Ulster Shield: Ards 4 (B McEwen 2, F Brown 2) Randalstown 0.
Irish Junior Cup: Belfast Harlequins II 2 Pembroke II 4; Loreto II 7 Ulster Elks II 0; Pegasus II 6 Monkstown II 2; UCD II 5 Ballymoney II 0
Irish Hockey Challenge: Dromore 1 Civil Service 0.
EYHL: Cookstown 2 (M Kerr, G Allen) Pembroke Wanderers 3 (S Sweetnam, G Chambers, C Murphy); Glenanne 3 (S Boucher 2, C Jakobi) Annadale 1 (R Burgess)
Ulster Premier League: Mossley 2 (A Boyd, J Robinson) Instonians 1 (D Ward); Queen’s 0 Bangor 2 (M McCombe, J Easlea); Antrim 1 (D Wilson) Raphoe 2 (J Wilson, T Orr); Belfast Harlequins 2 (S McGrath, M Patterson) South Antrim 1 (J Brown); North Down 3 (J Gilmore, G McKeown, J Linter) Civil Service 1 (M Johnston); Portadown 1 (R Bennett) Kilkeel 3 (L Russell, A Graham, J Aiken)
Kirk Cup: Lisnagarvey 8 (T Chambers 5, T Cockram 2, O Kidd) Newry 1 (K McWilliams)
Irish Hockey Challenge: Mullingar 2 Ballynahinch 3 (A Brown, A McIlwaine, J Campbell)
Linden Cup: Parkview 1 PSNI 8; CI 0 Ballymena 2; Down 5 Armagh 1.