Men's IHL semi-finals
Lisnagarvey 6 (Mark Daniel 2, Timmy Cockram 2, Mark Raphael, Stephen Hunter) Corinthian 5 (Darren Kimfley, Brian Doherty 2, Lucas Piccioli, Andrew Cronje ps) after silver goal extra-time On a day of high drama, Lisnagarvey and Corinthian’s tie probably topped the lot with a fixture devoid of some of the earlier controversies while there easily could have been more than the 11 goals that did accrue on a mad-cap, early evening tie.
Timmy Cockram scored with the last act of extra-time, driving home a low drag-flick to cap a phenomenal day’s play at Grange Road.
The tale of the tape included as equally unlikely as the first semi-final as a blistering opening salvo from Mark Daniel saw ’Garvey 3-1 to the good inside the first quarter.
In truth, his side scored with virtually every attack they had in that time with Daniel getting two from a combined total of about a yard.
His first broke the deadlock in the fifth minute, tapping in after Mark Raphael – still showing utter class in every touch – went down the right and Daniel had a simple task to score.
Darren Kimfley pummelled one through David Williamson to level two minutes later but Wallace schoolboy Peter MacDonnell this time did the yards down the right to manufacture a ball to Daniel score.
Cockram rounded off a loose ball from Jason Lynch’s crash in the 16th minute to complete a lively first quarter.
And the goals kept flying in. Raphael finished with a brilliant couple of touches to a bouncing ball, laid on by Daniel, nut-megging Ross Murray.
But two Brian Doherty drags – one high, one low – from the only two corners of the half meant it was very much game on at 4-3 at the interval.
The third quarter was an anomaly. No goals but how the reds were not at least level was a mystery. MacDonnell had the first chance of the half, Daniel’s pace setting him free before the top of Murray’s pad denied a goal.
But then came a series of Corinthian chances. Davy Carson beat David Williamson, pulling onto his reverse in the centre of the goal but his bullet was knocked away by a superman-style dive from Brian Waring who’d covered the line.
Kimfley had three top chances, hitting a post with a rasper, flashing one wide while Williamson produced a trio of full-stretch saves from Carson and Lucas Piccioli.
Johnny Bell saw yellow moments after Kimfley went off injured for the first two stoppages of an absorbing game with none of the niggle and dissent of the previous encounter.
The goals, though, returned in the fourth quarter. Lucas Piccioli, sliding in on his tummy, got Corinthian on terms with an amazing diving deflection and the comeback looked complete with three minutes to go when Andrew Cronje netted a stroke – awarded after Brian Doherty’s drag caught Brian Waring flush on the head, thankfully he was ok.
But within 60 seconds ’Garvey tied it at 5-5. Marks Raphael and Daniel combined down the right yet again and rolled across the line for Stephen Hunter who inched the ball in despite Murray’s near-heroic efforts.
And they almost had time to steal it but Murray saved three times while Henry Micks was yellow carded for dissent to end a crazy 70 minutes.
Extra time retained the end-to-end spirit. Cockram saw his side’s first corner effort touched away by Murray while Jason Lynch had fired one wide on his reverse.
Carson won Corinthian’s fourth corner which Williamson saved on the fly and backed up that save in the second phase with a smother on Brian Doherty. Strokes looked likely but Johnny Gray won the vital corner and Cockram drove to the bottom corner to end an incredible match.
* Adrian Boehm's photos from the game can be seen here.