Glenns Back on Top as Rovers Go 2nd

Glenanne emerged at the top of the men’s EY Hockey League pile at the end of the first half of the season as Shane O’Donoghue’s last second winner against Annadale saw them jump above Three Rock Rovers and Glenanne. 

It was a cracking series of week nine fixtures with each of the five games going down to the wire on Saturday. 

Monkstown's Rory Nichols and TRR's James Walker battle for the ball Pic Adrian Boehm

For the Glens, they trailed to much-improved Dale 1-0 at half-time and were pegged back to 2-2 by Adam McAllister with time running out despite a couple of O’Donoghue strikes. But Ireland’s all-time top scorer added yet another goal to his tally with a powerful drag-flick, his 15th goal of the campaign.

Rovers, meanwhile, drew with Monkstown at Grange Road 1-1 to move back down to second place. In the end, it could have been much worse and much better for the Rathfarnham club, who trailed to Guy Sarratt’s goal with three minutes to go, only for Ross Canning to chip in the leveller.
In a thrilling endgame, James Walker hit the underside of the bar for a would-be winner. For Town, it was the third time in the past five weeks they have taken points off the current league leader to depose them from that position – they sit fourth at halfway.

In a high octane affair, Garvey were held to a 2-2 draw by fifth-placed Banbridge. Ben Nelson had the hosts 1-0 up before youngsters Chris Curry, and Louis Rowe swapped the lead in Bann’s favour. Ollie Kidd’s fortuitous strike meant a share of the spoils.

The late-game was brought forward by an hour to 5 pm to allow the game to go ahead as six Covid cases in the top umpire panel’s ranks along with an injury meant several hastily rearranged appointments. It is a testament to the ingenuity of the Irish Hockey Umpires Association to rejig their placements along with the agreement of the teams to allow the change at short notice to enable the game to go ahead.

At the bottom, Pembroke recorded their second win of the season to put six points between themselves and the side they defeated, UCD, with a 3-2 scoreline. It was more comfortable than that suggests, with Julian Dale’s double putting them 3-0 up before UCD netted twice in the last seven minutes through Jay Menelaou and Sam Byrne.

YMCA got their first win in eight attempts, with Grant Glutz earning them a 1-0 win over Corinthian. It keeps them two points clear of the relegation playoff occupied by Pembroke, who are now level with Corinthian on points but behind on goal difference.

In EYHL2, Bandon and Cookstown are in the best position after day two as both have two wins two in Pool C at the expense of Mossley and Portrane, respectively.

The other pools are less clear-cut. A spectacular Cork C of I comeback saw them draw 2-2 with Instonians from 2-0 down in the fourth quarter in Pool A. That pair share the lead on seven points while Railway Union are one back on six with a 4-1 win over Rathgar, Mark English getting all their goals.

No clear favourite has emerged in Pool B with Kilkeel and Cork Harlequins drawing, meaning each game in this group has been a draw thus far.

Men's EY Hockey League – day nine round-up 

Three Rock Rovers 1 (R Canning) Monkstown 1 (G Sarratt) 

For a third time this season, a Monkstown performance has knocked the current first placed side off the top as they drew 1-1 with Three Rock Rovers at Grange Road. 

It followed wins over Lisnagarvey and Glenanne, and they were within a couple of minutes of repeating the trick only for Ross Canning’s corner deflection to level it in the 67th minute. On the flip side, James Walker almost won the day when he clipped the underside of the bar moments later, but a draw was probably a fair result. 

Both sides were understrength, with Town missing David Nolan, Jazze Henry, Nick Dee and Andree Fogarty for the tie, while Ben Johnson was missing for Rovers with Ben Ryder and Mark Samuel not lasting the half due to injuries. 

Rovers had the best of the first half-hour with Dave Fitzgerald producing a fine performance, the pick of the early interventions a scramble away a chance from Evan Jennings, who also shot inches wide. 

Town survived 12 minutes of suspensions before returning to 11 players with a devastating effect just before half-time with a pitch-length move, starting with a turnover in their defensive left corner, which was transferred out to Rory Nichols charging at pace. His cross found Guy Sarratt on the left of the D and he shot home. 

The Rathdown club carried that upper hand into the third quarter with several near misses from Sarratt and Jeremy Duncan. Rovers, though, threw everything forward in the last 10 minutes, with Fitzgerald producing the pick of his saves from Ali Haughton before Canning equalised with a touch to Jody Hosking’s corner power-slap to share the spoils. 

UCD 2 (J Menelaou, S Byrne) Pembroke 3 (J Dale 2, G Chambers)

Pembroke picked up a vital 3-2 win over UCD in their tussle with UCD at the bottom of the table. They built a healthy 3-0 lead, and while the Belfielders fought back with two goals in the last 10 minutes, the result gave Pembroke a six-point buffer between them and the automatic relegation place.

The Ballsbridge club were in control in the first half, with Matthew O’Brien Holohan needing to be sharp to deny Harry Spain’s drag-flick. The goalkeeper was unfortunate to be beaten from the third phase of one attack as he blocked Julian Dale’s deflection and a Cillian Hynes follow-up shot, but Greg Chambers picked off the third attack.

Dale dragged in Pembroke’s third corner in the minutes before half-time for a deserved 2-0 lead. He drew a brilliant glove save from O’Brien Holohan, who also denied Chambers a second with a low-down block.
The third came from a peach of a strike from Dale after Scott Sullivan’s show and go opened up the chance. UCD struggled to create much prior to that phase, but they finished strong. Peter Lynch deflected a crash ball into the path of Jay Menelaou, and the former Avoca man controlled it perfectly to evade the last defender and goalkeeper. Sam Byrne then batted in a corner rebound in the final minute, but Pembroke had done enough and closed the gap significantly to the sides above them.

Annadale 2 (T Cross, A McAllister) Glenanne 3 (S O'Donoghue 3) 

Shane O’Donoghue’s final second goal saw Glenanne return to the top of the table, completing his hat trick to make it 3-2 with the very last play of the contest.

Dale have proven a strong competitor this season and they had the half-time lead when Tim Cross banged in a straight hit from a penalty corner. O’Donoghue levelled from the penalty spot and his drag-flick made it 2-1 going into the final quarter.

Adam McAllister equalised with time running out but a last-ditch corner was nailed once more by O’Donoghue for a seventh win from the first half of the season.

Lisnagarvey 2 (B Nelson, O Kidd) Banbridge 2 (C Curry, L Rowe)

Lisnagarvey and Banbridge drew in a high octane, late afternoon tussle at Comber Road, seeing Garvey drop to third place with Bann consolidating their fifth place a little more.

It was a tie brought forward by an hour to allow the game to go ahead as six Covid cases in the top umpire panel’s ranks along with an injury meant several hastily rearranged appointments. It is a testament to the ingenuity of the Irish Hockey Umpires Association to rejig their placements along with the agreement of the teams to allow the change at short notice to enable the game to go ahead.

On the field, Garvey went in front in the first quarter from the first clear-cut opportunity that fell Ben Nelson’s way. He spun well and found a perfect angle to shoot past Luke Roleston.

However, Banbridge enjoyed a substantial portion of the play of a tight first half to suggest they could cause problems after the break with Philip Brown a regular feature. Bann were level with six minutes remaining in the third quarter via Chris Curry and he went close to putting his side in front soon after.

The pendulum swung back the hosts way for a brief spell with Troy Chambers turning on the after-burners, but Banbridge went in front on the counter as the action heated up, Louis Rowe scoring the breakaway goal.

Garvey pressed on and were back on terms at 2-2 with 10 minutes to go when Ollie Kidd fired across goal and his action took a defensive stick to rebound into the backboard. Daniel Nelson and Chambers went extremely close to winning it, but they had to settle for a point that sees them drop two points behind new leaders Glenanne at the halfway stage.

YMCA 1 (G Glutz) Corinthian 0 

YMCA picked up their first win since the season’s opening day as they won their derby date with Corinthian courtesy of Grant Glutz’s single goal. It lifts them to seventh place in the table and remains two points above the relegation playoff place.

Early on, reds’ player-coach Peter Caruth went close to breaking the deadlock but his volley was sent over the clubhouse by goalkeeper Jakim Bernsden while his side also ran up a series of penalty corners but to no avail in the first half.

YM, meanwhile, started the second half on the up with Harry McCarthy setting up Glutz and he powered home an upright reverse-stick shot for what proved the only goal of the day.

Ross Henderson fizzed a reverse just over as the Y stepped things up significantly before Corinthian replied with a couple of big changes going incomplete. They won further corners in the closing quarter, but they were repelled too and YM had a crucial three points to their name

Men's EYHL Division Two round-up 

Cork C of I came back from 2-0 in the closing quarter to land what could be a vital draw against Instonians in the hotly contested Pool A of the men’s EY Hockey League Division 2.

For a long time, they tailed to Ben Palmer’s second-quarter drag-flick and they were in further trouble when the experienced Chris Kirk popped up with a second in the fourth quarter for a 2-0 Inst lead.

But Ian Balding and Jonny Bruton nabbed late goals to make it 2-2 and add it to their 5-0 opening day win over Rathgar to sit on seven points at the head of the group.

Inst are on seven as well with Railway Union one point worse off on six thanks to their 4-1 success against Rathgar at Park Avenue. All four goals came from the stick of Mark English, bringing his tally in all competitions so far this season to 39 goals.

Pool B is shaping up incredibly tight with Kilkeel entering the fray with a 0-0 draw against Cork Harlequins. Quins had drawn with Clontarf on the first day of this three-team pool to leave the win column blank for everyone so far.

The Mourne men survived a couple of early corners before having a trio of their own before half-time, one of which hit the post. Neither side could nail one of their set-pieces into the second half, so the laurels were shared.

In Pool C, Bandon and Cookstown have two wins from two but both were pushed all the way by Mossley and Portrane, respectively.

In west Cork, Bandon eventually shook off the Newtownabbey side’s challenge 5-3. Captain Fionn O’Leary had them two to the good at half-time, only for Simon Todd and Jordan Robinson to level the game by the end of Q3.

Ian Perrott added a pair for Bandon to keep their noses in front but a second from Todd kept the game up for grabs at 4-3 with time running out. In the last three minutes, Bandon got the vital clinching goal from Ethan Hamilton Foott to lift them to 10 points.

At Portrane, Ryan Millar got the only goal for Cookstown in the final throes of the third quarter for a 1-0 success for the Co Tyrone side. Portrane take a losing bonus point for their efforts.

EYHL Division 1 

Annadale 2 (T Cross, A McAllister) Glenanne 3 (S O’Donoghue 3)
Lisnagarvey 2 (B Nelson, O Kidd) Banbridge 2 (C Curry, L Rowe)
Three Rock Rovers 1 (R Canning) Monkstown 1 (G Sarratt)
UCD 2 (J Menelaou, S Byrne) Pembroke 3 (J Dale 2, G Chambers)
YMCA 1 (G Glutz) Corinthian 0 

Railway Union's Mark English Pic Max Fulham

EYHL Division 2 

Pool A: Cork C of I 2 (I Balding, J Bruton) Instonians 2 (B Palmer, C Kirk)
Railway Union 4 (M English 4) Rathgar 1 (S Madeley)

Pool B: Kilkeel 0 Cork Harlequins 0
Pool C: Bandon 5 (F O’Leary 2, I Perrott 2, E Hamilton-Foott) Mossley 3 (S Todd 2, J Robinson)
Portrane 0 Cookstown 1 (R Millar)

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