Pembroke claimed the Tony Byrne Cup for the second time in their history as they bounced back from a 1-0 deficit to score the only goals of the second half to race to victory at the NBA this evening.
Their array of international outdoor stars grew into the tournament game by game, recovering from an earlier 6-0 loss to Three Rock in the preliminary stages of the competition, to out-gun the reigning champions.
Their sharper edge in front of goal and terrier-like defending meant they had too much in the tank for a Rovers’ side who held more possession but struggled to take chances all tournament.
They started well; Peter Blakeney brilliantly rounding David Harte and flicking home while off balance in the second minute but Pembroke were on terms inside 100 seconds when Ronan Gormley levelled with a soft goal. Following an auto-pass, his reverse-stick nudge bamboozled Wendel Armstrong and also bounced off a defender’s foot before crossing the line.
And Mick O’Connor gave Pembroke the lead for the first time in the 11th minute on the break, a deft reverse from the left edge of the circle
Patrick Shanahan responded within a minute, capitalising from a steal from Conor Harte to net. Pierre de Voux shot over soon after – one of a slew of chances to miss the target – and Sothern took advantage of the Broke’s only corner of the half to make it 3-2.
De Voux was sin-binned for three minutes in the lead up to half-time, a period in which Alan Giles had a goal disallowed but no further goals ensued to give Pembroke the edge at the break.
Liam Canning and Blakeney both missed the target before Sothern got the game-breaker in superb style in the 24th minute. With his back to goal, he dummied one way then spun on his reverse and dinked home from the edge of the circle.
Mick O’Connor and Alan Bothwell went to the bin for some argie-bargie but when both sides were restored to six men, Sothern found Conor Harte overlapping on the righthand boards with a brilliant diagonal pass and finished with the minimum of fuss.
No further goals ensued even though Rovers swapped Armstrong with an extra outfielder for the last eight minutes. Twice the ball rebounded off the Pembroke goal while Sothern produced one scintillating run only to miss a relatively open goal on the run.
Nonetheless, a further insurance goal was not needed and Pembroke were back on top of the indoor pile for the second time following 2007’s maiden triumph.
It brought to a conclusion the first running of the new, enlarged National Indoor Trophy, run excellently by indoor chairman Paul O’Brien and his team of helpers run over four weekends since December 20 with more than twice the number of entrants than its forerunner in 2009.
Pembroke now qualify for European competition in 2011.
Final: Three Rock Rovers 2 (Peter Blakeney, Patrick Shanahan) Pembroke 5 (Alan Sothern 2, Mick O’Connor, Ronan Gormley, Conor Harte)
Pembroke: David Harte, Paddy Conlon, Craig Fulton, Alan Giles, Alan Sothern, Conor Harte Subs: Craig Wilson, Mick O’Connor, Conor Harte, Simon Thornton Three Rock Rovers: Wendel Armstrong, Liam Canning, Garry Ringwood, Peter McConnell, Colin Huet, Peter Blakeney Subs: Sven Galjaardt, Pierre de Voux, Alan Bothwell, Michael Maguire, Patrick Shanahan, Maarten Bos
* For more of Tristan Seaton-Stedham's photos of the title presentation, click here