Annadale will face Banbridge in Boxing Day’s Kirk Cup final after defeating Cookstown 3-2 in an exciting semi-final at Stormont yesterday.
The Belfast side came from 2-1 down to draw level before grabbing a late winner after Stuart Smyth had scored twice to put the Reds ahead. Peter Corrie put Dale in front after six minutes but Smyth levelled matters before the break with a trademark penalty corner strike.
Three minutes after the restart, Smyth scored in identical fashion to put Cookstown ahead for the first time in the match. Ryan Burgess equalised from a superb set-piece in the 40th minute but Annadale sealed their place in the decider with 11 minutes left when Rory Capper converted a cross from Paddy Crookshanks for the winner.
“This was a really hard one to take,” said Cookstown captain Greg Allen. “To have gone behind so early was difficult but we worked our way back into the game.
“To get our noses in front just shows the work that this team can put in. Credit has to go to Stuart Smyth for two good finishes. It’s a real pity that we couldn’t hold out but we’d like to wish Annadale the very best of luck in the final.”
Meanwhile, an Adam Glass hat-trick sealed South Antrim a 4-1 Ulster Premier League win over Kilkeel on Saturday to send the champions crashing to their first defeat of the campaign following six straight wins. Instonians have taken over at the summit after Stephen Kelso got both goals in a 2-1 win at Raphoe. Bangor are joint second after Chris Campbell hit a double in a 4-1 victory over Civil Service at Stormont while Josh Gilmore got a treble in an 11 goal thriller at Comber where North Down defeated Portadown 6-5.
On the women’s front, Belfast Harlequins left it late before booking their place in the Denman Ulster Shield semi-finals with a 2-0 win over a spirited Lisnagarvey side at Deramore. Although the hosts needed only a draw to progress, they made sure of the win with goals in the last 10 minutes from Rachel Johnston and Abigail Edwards. There were two divisions between the teams last season but Garvey gave as good as they got for most of the 70 minutes against the depleted EY Irish Hockey side.
In fact, they won the penalty corner count 3-2 but Quins had more chances from open play, although they lacked the killer instinct in front of goal. Edwards, Claire Weir, Amy Geddes and Gemma Frazer all missed good opportunities in the first half as Garvey keeper Leah Crooks pulled of several fine stops. The Hillsborough team looked threatening on the counter attack and it took a fabulous save from Marianne Fox in the home goal to deny Robyn Chambers in the 59th minute. Under 60 seconds later, Quins broke away and forced a penalty corner which Johnston despatched from a familiar move. With virtually the last play of the game, Edwards sealed the win when she swept in a Weir cross from the right.
Ards were already guaranteed a place in the last four and they warmed up for next week’s game with a comfortable 4-0 win over Rainey at Londonderry Park. Francesca Brown, Faye Kidd, Ali Carson and Becky Weir got the goals against the struggling Ulster Premier League side. With Pegasus already through, Ulster Elks completed the semi-final line up with an emphatic 7-0 win at Ballymena where Ireland World Cup star Megan Frazer got two of the goals.
In the semi-finals, Pegasus take on Ards and Quins face Elks at Stormont on Sunday.
In the second tier of the Irish Hockey League, Lurgan kept their slim promotion play-off hopes alive with a 4-3 win over NUIG in Galway, helped by Sarah McClure’s double strike, after her team had trailed 2-0 in the first half. But Dungannon are out of contention after falling to a 5-2 defeat against Catholic Institute in Limerick where Zoe Henderson and Jill Elliott got the consolation goals.
Roisin Upton played in Kim Daly for a sweet finish in the second minute to set the tone. Ciara Moloney added two more before half-time. Roisin Upton and Leah Cleary extended the lead out to five before Dungannon rallied with efforts from Henderson and Elliott in the closing 12 minutes. The Limerick side head the group on 16 points from four games, three ahead of Monkstown who did not play this weekend.
Lurgan defied the odds to beat NUIG in Galway, travelling with 13 players including two debutantes – Libby Jegou and Mia Proctor – to come back from two goals down for a memorable win. Katie Codyre and Rachel Heskin gave the Galway side a brilliant start, building a two-goal lead in the first 26 minutes. But Lurgan soon started to find their rhythm as they coped with the absence of Emma Lindsay, Carly Johnston, Nicola Thompson, Louise Murray and Chloe McCann. McClure’s penalty corner strike gave them hope just before half-time and they were level two minutes into the second half when Ulster Under-18 Olivia Gibson shot home from mid-circle on her reverse.
They went in front in brilliant style, a move started by McClure’s turnover. She played it wide right to Lydia McNeill who beat a player and moved the ball on to Lauren Wright who lifted over her marker’s stick and burned off a couple more defenders before slipping to McClure to walk the ball into the goal. Assistant coach-player Natalie Barr’s strike put them 4-2 up before NUIG made it interesting with eight minutes to go via Codyre. The result lifts Lurgan to six points, level with Dungannon, and above NUIG who have two to their name.
Denman Ulster Shield Pool A: Queen’s 4 (E McStea, E Getty, T Hastings, J McMaster) Banbridge 1 (O Berry)
Denman Ulster Shield Pool B: Ards 4 (F Brown, F Kidd, A Carson, B Weir)
Denman Ulster Shield Pool C: Ballymena 0 Ulster Elks 7 (M Frazer 2, L Paul, H Irwin, J Allen, C Mitchell, S Atkinson)
Denman Ulster Shield Pool D: Belfast Harlequins 2 (R Johnston, A Edwards) Lisnagarvey 0
Senior One: Armagh 1 (K Johnston) Portadown 1 (C Porter); CI 1 (L Mercer) Omagh 3 (E Shortt, A Buchanan, D Darragh); Club KV 2 (A Trimble, J Orr) Castle 2 (T Munn 2); Coleraine 4 (C McNickle, K Caithness 2, A McGill) North Down 4 (S Lewis, R Murphy 2, R Lucas); Raphoe 3 (Z Tinney, L Patterson, K Love) Priorians 2 (E Allen, J Kennedy)
EYHL 2 Pool A: Trinity 6 (C Fullston 2, A Buttimer, I Delamer, A Long, E Markey) Greenfields 0; UCC 3 (A Bourke, E Cripps, A Collins) Corinthian 1 (L McGrane)
EYHL 2 Pool B: Catholic Institute 5 (C Moloney 2, K Daly, L Cleary, R Upton) Dungannon 2 (Z Henderson, J Elliott); NUIG 3 (K Codyre, R Heskin, K Langan) Lurgan 4 (S McClure 2, O Gibson, N Barr).
Ulster Premier League: South Antrim 4 (A Glass 3, P Maguire) Kilkeel 1 (G Russell); Civil Service 1 (C Bannister) Bangor 4 (C Campbell 2, A Tweed, D McClune); Raphoe 1 (T Eaton) Instonians 2 (S Kelso 2); North Down 6 (J Gilmore 3, G McKeown 2, T Donnan) Portadown 5 (S Johnton 2, G Titler, M Bennett, R Scott); Newry 2 (J Taylor 2) Queen’s 4 (F Harkin, R Kelly, M Warnock, R West); Antrim 0 Belfast Harlequins 6 (M Patterson 2, C Lemon, R Quigley, M Gray, A Kenny)
Kirk Cup Semi-Final: Annadale 3 (P Corrie, R Burgess, R Capper) Cookstown 2 (S Smyth 2)
Irish Junior Cup: Lisnagarvey II 8 North Down II 3; Kilkeel II 0 Dublin A II 7; Monkstown II 2 Cookstown II 1; Instonians II 8 Mossley II 3