For the fifth successive round, there has been a change at the top of the men’s EY Hockey League with Three Rock Rovers taking over from Lisnagarvey after a dramatic day in the elite competition.
Rovers were 3-1 winners at Annadale, coming back from a goal down with Ben Johnson scoring twice for the second week running in Ulster, netting either side of a Ross Canning penalty stroke.
James Clark had given Dale the dream start with a fourth minute opening goal but the defeat has left them in a perilous position, just one point above the drop zone.
For Garvey, they were ambushed by Corinthian in the closing minutes in a 2-2 draw. Things appeared to be going smoothly with Ollie Kidd and Mark McNellis putting them two clear in the fourth quarter but Davy Howard and veteran Andrew Sutton’s goal in the last 30 seconds earned the reds a point.
It drops Lisnagarvey from a one-point lead down to a one-point deficit behind Three Rock who they meet in Dublin on the next two Saturdays, first in the Irish Senior Cup and then in the EYHL.
Banbridge, meanwhile, won a rollercoaster against YMCA 3-2 to continue their push for a good playoff draw. Grant Glutz had the Y 1-0 up from a penalty stroke but replies from David Finlay, Johnny McKee and Eugene Magee turned things their way. Glutz’s second of the day closed out the game but proved immaterial.
Bann remain level with Monkstown in fourth place but have reeled in the gap to the top three with Glenanne losing to ninth-placed Pembroke 5-3. All five of the Pembroke goals came set plays with Alan Sothern scoring two penalty strokes and two penalty corners with Julian Dale getting the other corner goal.
Glenanne led 3-2 to at one stage before Pembroke fought back and are now just one point from safety.
UCD’s 4-1 loss to Monkstown, allied to each of the sides directly above them picking up points, means their relegation is becoming an ever-closer mathematical likelihood.
EYHL Division 1: Annadale 1 (J Clark) Three Rock Rovers 3 (B Johnson 2, R Canning); Corinthian 2 (D Howard, A Sutton) Lisnagarvey 2 (O Kidd, M McNellis); Glenanne 3 (S O’Connor, J Rogan, R Couse) Pembroke 5 (A Sothern 4, J Dale); UCD 1 (H Lynch) Monkstown 4 (D Carson, T Kohlmann, M Gibbons, G Sarratt); YMCA 2 (G Glutz 2) Banbridge 3 (D Finlay, J McKee, E Magee)
Men’s EY Hockey League – day 12 round-up
Corinthian 2 (D Howard, A Sutton) Lisnagarvey 2 (O Kidd, M McNellis)
A rare Andrew Sutton goal saw Corinthian produce an incredible late fightback to nick a point against Lisnagarvey, knocking them off top spot of the men’s EY Hockey League.
The first half ended scoreless but things appeared to be going smoothly for Garvey when Ollie Kidd and Mark McNellis put them two clear in the fourth quarter.
But Davy Howard and veteran Sutton’s goal in the last 30 seconds earned the reds a gleefully celebrated point which lifts them from eighth place to sixth in the rankings.
Glenanne 3 (S O’Connor, J Rogan, R Couse) Pembroke 5 (A Sothern 4, J Dale)
Alan Sothern showed how invaluable he is for Pembroke as he scored four goals as he returned to full flow after injury to give his side a vital victory over Glenanne, denting the hosts’ title chances in the process.
It was a measure of efficiency as Glenanne had a larger amount of possession and chances but Pembroke picked off corners and strokes from their fewer attacks to make the difference.
The Glens peppered Ilko Dartsch’s goal in the first few minutes with a couple of corners and a Richie Shaw volley flashing across goal. Sam O’Connor put them in front in the 24th minute but Sothern equalised within two minutes to have it level at the big break.
The second half started with the Glens on the attack for the most part but Pembroke’s first attack of the half led to a stroke which Sothern did not catch too cleanly but got enough on it to make it through David Lawless.
Jason Rogan equalised when he flicked in when the ball fell to him after a left-wing attack and Richard Couse applied a very smart take through his legs and finish for 3-2 from Shane O’Donoghue’s pin-point pass.
But Pembroke finished strong with Sothern scoring a second stroke for 3-3 after a corner shot hit a body on the line with 13 minutes to go. Julian Dale added a direct drag-flick to retake the lead soon after and Sothern completed the victory with his fourth of the day. They finished up round 12 one point away from safety while Glenanne are in third, three points off first.
Annadale 1 (J Clark) Three Rock Rovers 3 (B Johnson 2, R Canning)
Three Rock Rovers returned to the top of the men’s EY Hockey League as their set-piece functioned well to record a 3-1 win over Annadale at Lagan College.
Annandale got off to a flying start with Owen McElhinney’s left-wing cross on his reverse turned in by James Clark. Rovers, though, were level in the sixth minute when Ben Johnson nailed a drag-flick.
Rovers were initially awarded a stroke in Q2 when Johnson got in behind the last defender and went tumbling under a challenge from goalkeeper Sam Hamill but an umpire’s consultation overturned the decision.
Conor Quinn made a big save from David Tremlett’s deflection before Rovers made it 2-1 with the last play of the half as Johnson’s shot was blocked by a body on the line and Ross Canning stepped up to convert from the penalty spot.
The Dubliners moved into a 3-1 lead from their third penalty corner of the second half with Johnson again the man on target, going down the glove side into the bottom corner.
After that, Rovers held on reasonably comfortably with Quinn not called into action in the closing 20 minutes while Hamill made some robust stops in the Dale goal.
UCD 1 (H Lynch) Monkstown 4 (D Carson, T Kohlmann, M Gibbons, G Sarratt)
Monkstown recorded a 4-1 win for the second week running as they proved too strong for UCD at Belfield. The students started well with Ewan Ramsay drawing a couple of good saves from Dave Fitzgerald but Monkstown were on their way in the second quarter.
David Nolan danced one way then the other from a free, getting to the baseline and crossing to Davy Carson to finish off. It was 2-0 by half-time via a sweet team move through the middle which Theo Kohlmann finished off.
Mark Gibbons was credited with the third goal with a deflection from a right-wing cross though the students argued it took a foot rather than a stick. Matthew O’Brien Holohan made a number of top class saves but the fourth goal fell to Guy Sarratt with a piece of individual brilliance, beating a couple of players on the baseline and then reversing into the net.
Harry Lynch pulled one back from a corner in the dying minutes for UCD.
YMCA 2 (G Glutz 2) Banbridge 3 (D Finlay, J McKee, E Magee)
Banbridge, meanwhile, won a rollercoaster against YMCA 3-2 to continue their push for a good playoff draw.
Grant Glutz had the Y 1-0 up from a penalty stroke but David Finlay had Bann level before half-time and a world class effort from Johnny McKee gave the Co Down side the lead for the first time. Eugene Magee’s corner goal put the visitors 3-1 up; Glutz’s second of the day closed out the game but proved immaterial.
Bann remain level with Monkstown in fourth place but have reeled in the gap to the top three.