Monday, May 4, 2009

Pembroke complete incredible year

A controversial first Irish Hockey league season drew to a close at Grange Road as Pembroke completed a near perfect year with their fourth title in a month.

The competition, itself, drew largely positive feedback at a meeting with club representatives prior to the main action of the day.

Finals’ weekend proved a well-run success off field while the on-field fare hit some exceptional highs, fulfilling the brief to ‘entertain, entertain, and entertain’.

However, a couple of teething problems have been generated in the competition’s inaugural year as players, technical officials and administrators came to terms with a new set of rules and a new, higher set of standards of hockey and how it is governed.

In the wake of the refixture issue concerning Cookstown and Annadale and the semi-final timing glitch, the final almost inevitably would have a few major talking points unto itself.

Pembroke took the title by ousting their keenest rivals, Glenanne, in a similar vein to the women’s final – by virtue of the new penalty one-on-one shoot-out**.

But while the women’s shoot-out was run off without major incident, the men’s version produced enough intrigue to fill an entire blog.

Pembroke’s player-coach Craig Fulton netted the crucial, sudden death goal before the game’s key player, David Harte, stood tall to deny 16-year-old Shane O’Donoghue’s effort and a 2-1 win.

Serious questions were raised at numerous points during the shoot-out as to the decider’s rules and format, specifically when technical delegate Nigel McCullough was called to adjudicate on Graham Shaw’s penalty.

Harte saved the effort but a concerted appeal by the Glenanne bench that the goalkeeper had left his line too early left McCullough declaring a retake though the Glens claimed a penalty goal was warranted.

Harte saved again as both sides struggled to score from the one-on-one situation where players have eight seconds to score.

Stephen Butler’s blasted effort was easily dealt with by the Pembroke keeper but the ball rebounded into an area the attacker could easily have retrieved. He did not collect the ball again, allowing the clock to time out.

Fulton then missed in cruel circumstances, rounding Steven Doran successfully only to slip with the goal-gaping from three yards out, managing only to push the ball into the sideboard as he fell.

Shaw’s effort came and went while Justin Sherriff also failed leaving the last round of three in the hands of young O’Donoghue.

He showed immense composure to net but Alan Sothern was fouled by Doran, a penalty goal awarded to bring on Fulton’s sudden death strike.

The Glens had further concerns that Pembroke players had encroached too early on the circle to celebrate when Harte made his fourth save from five one-on-one charges but it was to prove just a footnote in a fascinating battle.

David Keogh had given Glenanne the early impetus but Wanderers’ hitman Alan
Sothern struck his 57th goal of the club season to make matters level by half-time.

As the temperature rose in the second half, Paddy Conlon produced a breath-taking steal to deny Graham Shaw a shot on an empty target before both Stephen Butler and Conor Harte were sin-binned to make it ten-a-side.

Justin Sherriff’s off-ball skirmish with Joe Brennan also saw him sit out five minutes for a yellow but the score remained 1-1 going into the fourth quarter.

Stu Loughrey broke that deadlock with a wonderful strike, taking Tim Lewis’ overhead in his stride to take Richie Shaw out of the game before battering low under the advancing Steven Doran.

Parity, though, was reconvened within three minutes with another beautiful goal as Butler’s drive was redirected high into the net by Eddie O’Malley with 11 minutes on the clock.

The Glens momentum was temporarily stalled as Gary Shaw was the fourth player to take an enforced rest for breaking down a quick free but his side finished regular time stronger.

Only for David Harte’s sheer brilliance would the title be now resting in Glenanne Park as O’Donoghue was denied from point blank range.

He could not have struck his reverse much sweeter but an outstretched stick batted away to safety. Harte followed up with a diving block from Butler’s drag-flick to ensure extra-time and ultimate glory.

It left Alan Giles – whose involvment in the semi-final or final was slightly curtailed due to injury – to pick up a fourth title of the year to confirm their status as the outstanding club side in Irish hockey this year.

Pembroke: David Harte, Conor Harte, Ronan Gormley, Colin Kelly, Tim Lewis, Paddy Conlon, Craig Fulton, Alan Sothern, Gordon Elliott, Justin Sherriff, Stu Loughrey Subs: Scott Lowrie, Michael O’Connor, Maurice Elliott, Alan Giles, Ken Treacy

Glenanne: Steven Doran, Joe Brennan, Alan Browne, Richie Shaw, Gary Shaw, Graham Shaw, Paul Fitzpatrick, Stephen Butler, John Goulding, Brendan Parsons, Shane O’Donoghue Subs: David Shaw, David Keogh, Jonathon Kane

* For Adrian Boehm's pictures from the game, click here and Tom Daly's pics are here; for Stephen West's pictures, click here and for Rob O'Connor's pics, click here

**On Monday, I spoke to a number of officials looking for clarification on the penalty shoot-out's rules as numerous 'rules' were proposed by the players. According to the officials, the eight-second timer starts at the time the whistle is blown and not when the player first touches the ball and so the goalkeeper is allowed leave his line.


Anonymous said...

Congrats to the Pembroke guys. What a sensational season!!

Pembroke ladies member

Anonymous said...

I agree....unbelievable to win all 4. Congratulations to the whole club. It takes more than just the 11 on the pitch to come out with that result!

Anonymous said...

I don't know about the new shoot-out format. Very few goals scored so not great from an entertainment perspective but defo gives the goalies a chance to show their stuff. David Harte...again outstanding!

Anonymous said...

from a player point of view i dont think the shoot out was a particular success. either increase the number to 5 each or return to strokes. Other option would be to follow the aussie way and in extra time reduce the numbers on the pitch every 2 mins so eventually its down to 8vs8 and 5vs5 etc!a goal would be scored then

Anonymous said...

does anyone know why its 3 each and not 5?

Anonymous said...

Been trying to find it on the internet but no luck.
Does anyone know when the groups/venue for the EHL were announced last year?

Stephen Findlater said...

In response to May 4, 2009 1:40 PM, the draw and venues for next year's EHL will not be named until after this year's competition is completed.

They did, however, do a draw in real time on their website with a two-week lead-in period to it last time out so keep an eye on the EHL website.

Anonymous said...

Cheers Stephen
Do you have any idea around what date/month it was last year?

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Anonymous said...

The Aussie way is 9 v 9 for 7 mins and then 7 v 7 for 7 mins Golden Goal. Then if still a draw it goes to strokes.

Anonymous said...

The games are meant to be televised on Setanta Sports at some stage right? Anyone know when?

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Anonymous said...

mens semis are tonight and the womens are on tomorrow night

Anonymous said...

mens semi-finals tonight at 7 til 9. i'm assuming it's just extended highlights

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Anonymous said...

2:21pm can you explain yourself please.

Glenanne won the game fair and square. Kane's goal was legal as the spectating clock was out of sync with the actual one.

No one likes a bad loser. For me, the two best teams in Ireland (arguably) are going to the EHL.

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Anonymous said...

well done to three rock rovers for putting on such a great weekend.

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Anonymous said...

I'd be careful before more cheating comments are thrown around, it's a serious accusation with little foundation as it has been noted that the IHA granted permission for the player to play if the club were to feel strongly enough about these accusations on this site then Stephen could find himself in legal trouble which nobody wants.

They are the best team in the country and have dominated almost every competition they have entered this year.

Stop begrudging them and show some well earned respect. Their players have let their hockey do the talking in the last few weeks and look where it has got them!

Anonymous said...

this years inaugural IHL has been very entertaining to say the least. who would make your IHL XI?

dave harte

tim lewis
neil lyons
ross mccandless
joe brennan

stephen butler
andy mcconnell
paddy conlon

alan sothern
eugene magee
john jermyn

Anonymous said...

Back to the shoot-out format. Personally from a spectators point of view I think the old style penalty stroke competition is more entertaining.

Besides which it would appear that not everyone knows the rules of the new format yet !!

Anonymous said...

pembroke and glenanne defo top teams in ireland with last two meetings going to penalties ther is very little between them, best of luck to them in EHL next year both fully deserve their places ther.

Anonymous said...

Pembroke Glens games always very tight in recent years. Not much between the teams in terms of play but Pembroke have always had the better keeper.
Same again yesterday Harte the difference.

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Anonymous said...

10.38 I don't think you could say there is much between the three of them. Undoubtedly Pembroke are the best so they might be a good bench mark to start with

This season:

Glenanne v Pembroke
Leinster league: Pembroke win and draw
IHL: Pembroke win and draw (final)
ISC: draw

Three Rock v Pembroke
Leinster League: Two draws
IHL: Pembroke win

Glenanne v Three Rock
Leinster League: Draw and Glenanne win
ISC: Draw

Pembroke are the best team and there isn't much in it with the other two.

Anonymous said...

In response to comment at 2.21. Did you hear the hooter before Kane's goal??? Because until the hooter sounds, the game is still live. If Bann had scored in that time instead would you still be leaving such a comment????? Pembroke were mis-lead by the powers that be which resulted in them breaking the rules! Glennanne did not break any rules!! Their place in the EHL is well deserved!

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Anonymous said...

Alot of credit to the glens. Only lost two games in the whole year in normal time. Lost semi on stokes in senior cup and the same in ihl final. great team with class players. and Graham Shaw should be named Irish player of the year. never gets enough credit. Well done Shaw and the Glens.

Anonymous said...

in regards the game a top class spectacle....i do agree harte was top notch but i think credit needs to be given to doran also, he made 3 or 4 crucial saves in the game and must b hard to take against his own club!

as for the cheating comment can we please get over it, pwhc won it fair and square and this needs to stop...must b a bitter person who keeps writing this.

well done lads on all the trophys this year
you did the club proud
pwhc member

Anonymous said...

If one reads the IHL rules it states only that:
"Matches that remain undecided after extra time in the knockout phase will be decided by a penalty shootout (rather than a penalty stroke competition). In a penalty shootout, three players are selected for each side, with the attacking player starting from the 25 yard line with eight seconds to beat the GK and score"

It is only in the IHL Guidance notes that there is andy detail provided. Why is it not included in the rules.

This is probably the reason the umpires were unsure. Nevertheless it is imperative that for such high stakes that rules are clearly defined so that for all concerned there is no ambiguity.

If one reads the IHL Guidance Notes it also states that only the umpires, 2 GKs and 6 shoot out participants are allowed enter the field of play. There was a situation on Sunday where before the 8 seconds had elapsed Pembroke players entered the 23m area.

If we are to continue with this format then can someone in the IHA update the rules. It's no more than a mornings work. (certainly after all we've learned over the weekend)

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Anonymous said...

Hook awards for the year Findo?few candidates spring to mind

Stephen Findlater said...

Will leave the dust settle for a week or so on the Hooks to help with a bit of perspective, feel free to offer your suggestions.

Anonymous said...

Steve - how about goal of the weekend. Watching last night, Johnny Gouldings turn, dribble and flick over Lennox's shoulder has to be up there, plus coming from a guy who usually scores from about 6 inches. Looked better on Setanta last night than I first thought.

Also big congrats to Rovers and IHA for organising a really great hokcey weekend, minus a couple of hitches but we all have to agree that hockey is definitely progressing in Ireland

Anonymous said...

Gk of the season,has to be Harte,incredible

Mens player,either A southern or J brennan

Upcoming player, Shane O donoghue

Womens player, J McDonnell

Upcoming womens player, N Atcheler


Anonymous said...

Being a neutral I have to say it was an excellent final although I thought Glenanne were the better side in the extra time.

I would also say that the umpires were far from certain of the rules and the shootout was somewhat of a farce.

Watching it on TV I also noticed that the young Glenanne player who missed the last 'penatly' considered going for the ball for a second attempt only to see the pembroke team charging at the goalkeeper in elation (understandable!). This was somewhat unfair although not deliberate.

Lessons must be learned from this by the branch.