Irish Hockey League Pool B (Saturday results)
Saturday: Glenanne 3 (Gary Shaw 2, Stephen Butler) Lisnagarvey 2 (Mark Raphael, Johnny Gray) Stephen Butler’s rising rocket five minutes from time was the decisive factor to edge a superb encounter at St Mark’s in which Lisnagarvey came back from the dead to tie the fixture up only to be counter-punched.
Nonetheless, the losing bonus point means they retain top spot in the group and a similar return from their tie with Cork C of I at Hillsborough in the final round of fixtures would likely ensure a final four presence.
The Glens prevailed, in spite of the absence of the injured Graham Shaw, and now have a similar proposition in front of them with Annadale to visit Tallaght in round five, though will a slightly less friendly goal difference.
The Ulster visitors shaded a cagey first quarter but the game truly burst into life when Gary Shaw scored a double inside three minutes of the start of the second quarter. Eddie O’Malley nabbed the ball inside the 25 to set up Gary Shaw to slap into the empty net for the opener before a superb second.
Joe Brennan’s overhead created the chance in the first instance before Mick McGuinness pull back was excellent finished by Shaw.
Timmy Cockram drew a couple of excellent saves from Steven Doran before the half was out on his reverse while one open side effort whizzed past the far post. ’Garvey, though, got right back into the mix early in the second half, profiting from two Glenanne green card offences.
During the Shane O’Donoghue’s absence, Jason Lynch had more space to roam from midfield, playing a fortuitous one-two with Peter MacDonnell down the left-wing to reach the baseline where he rolled a reverse-stick cross toward Mark Raphael who applied the deftest of finishes.
And when Stephen Butler was similarly binned for a tackle on the influential Johnny Gray, the northerners prospered once more. Raphael won the corner, Cockram dragged and Gray snapped up a very sharp rebound after Doran’s initial save.
But, restored to eleven, Glenanne regained midfield control, Dave Williamson denying a Butler dragged while O’Donoghue’s outrageous three-dimensional skills were cut short by the umpire’s whistle when well-placed.
They applied plenty of pressure in the final period, though, and eventually got back into the box seat when Butler banged the stanchion on Williamson’s glove side to stay very much a favourite for an IHL semi-final place.
Cork C of I 3 (John Jermyn, Nigel Buttimer, Nick Burns) Cookstown 3 (Stephen Sloan, Thomas Hutchinson, Colin Donaldson) A lively tie at Garryduff but a result which, in combination with events at Tallaght, did little to advance either sides of making the finals weekend.
John Jermyn netted his fourth of this year’s competition when his initial drag-flick hit a foot on the line and he potted the ensuing penalty stroke for the only goal of the first half.
The scoring tempo, though, ramped up in the second half as CI doubled their advantage when a Cookstown defensive mishap opened the chance for veteran Nigel Buttimer to flicked high into the net.
Stephen Sloan, though, responded from close range before Thomas Hutchinson levelled the tie from the Coolnafranky side’s sixth corner of the tie.
The hosts regained the lead through Nick Burns a minute into the final quarter when David Hobbs loped down the right wing and his cross was met by the diving teenager.
But Cookstown bounced back to equalise for a second time with just three minutes left when CI failed to clear and Colin Donaldson held his nerve to knock in his side’s third goal.
Sunday: Annadale 0 Three Rock Rovers 1 (Ross Canning)
Three Rock picked up their first win in this year’s competition with a tame 1-0 win over Annadale in a fixture short on interest after both sides were all but eliminated.
Teenager Ross Canning got the only goal, completing a well-worked move in the 61st minute while Andy McGimpsey as spending time in the sin-bin, consigning ’Dale to take the wooden spoon, barring a bonus point win in round five.
Early on, the Jordanstown hosts drew a pair of good saves from Stephen West, Peter Caruth and William Edgar the shooters. Pierre de Voux went close while Canning had the best of Rovers’ efforts on goal on his backhand side.
Richard Maybin let a golden chance slice wide from close range in the fourth quarter before Canning finished off a two-on-one with the goalkeeper for a three-point win.
Standings: 1. Lisnagarvey 11pts (+10) 2. Glenanne 11pts (+4) 3. Cookstown 8pts (+1) 4. Cork C of I 7pts (-2) 5. Three Rock Rovers 6pts (-7) 6. Annadale 2pts (-6)
* For more photos from Glenanne vs Lisnagarvey, click here