Men's Irish Hockey League - round five
Pool A: Corinthian 4 (Andrew Cronje, Conor Motyer, Darren Kimfley 2) Instonians 2 (Mark Irwin, Chris Kirk)
Corinthian claimed the second semi-final berth in Pool A behind Pembroke as they took the spoils at Whitechurch Park this afternoon to leap-frog Instonians and make it three Leinster side’s in the final’s weekend for a second successive year.
Player-coach Andrew Cronje has been a central character in their ascent this year, finishing in their best ever Leinster league position, and reaching this semi-final in their debut season.
And it was he who broke the deadlock early in a strong start. Lucas Piccioli hit the post soon after before making amends when he pick the ball up in the channels and cut in sharply, beating three players and the reverse to Conor Motyer to deflect home at full stretch, 2-0 inside the first quarter.
Inst responded with former Irish international Mark Irwin rebounding off the post in the second quarter to tighten the fixture up again.
But the reds retook control in the third period when Darren Kimfley showed exquisite skills at pace to win a penalty corner which he subsequently scored from with an unstoppable low reverse shot.
Chris Kirk tightened things up again with a well-taken effort and, with Harlequins beating Banbridge at the time, an equaliser would have secured their passage to the final four.
Nigel Skillen picked off a stunning triple save to keep the game in the balance but with ten minutes to go, Davy Carson drew a couple of defenders to set up Kimfley and his finish claimed the semi-final place.
Cork Harlequins 3 (Mark Black, Darren Farrell, Lee D’Alton) Banbridge 2 (Josh Moffett, Simon Magowan) Cork Harlequins threw a spanner in the works in the Pool A playoff race as they scored twice in the closing ten minutes to end Banbridge’s hopes of a return to the semi-finals.
Quins opened the scoring in the 32nd minute after Gareth Lennox produced an outstanding save from Dan Hobbs only for Jason Black to rebound and square the ball to brother Mark to finish.
But Bann were back on terms inside a minute when teenage sensation Josh Moffett deflected high from Ross McCandless’ drag-flick and the Co Down side were ahead in the 48th minute when Dermy Reay played in Simon Magowan for 2-1.
And Bann looked in with a shout of a semi-final spot only for their dreams to go up in smoke when Darren Farrell applied a lovely deflection to John Hobbs’ slide-rule pass from 35-metres out to level and Lee d’Alton rocketed home the winner in the final minutes for his side’s second win of the campaign.
Pembroke 0 Monkstown 0 Reigning champions Pembroke dampened Monkstown’s remote hopes of a semi-final place at Serpentine Avenue, holding the Irish Senior Cup finalists 0-0 on a drizzly day in Dublin 4.
Played at a high intensity, despite the lack of goals, the fixture was lively throughout. Pembroke held sway in possession stakes but Monkstown’s threat on the break is well-noted and meant there was always opportunities – one of which David Harte did well twice to keep at bay.
Dave Fitzgerald, at the opposite end, was equally vigilant between the sticks keeping the score-sheet blank.
Andy Ewington’s drag and Ian Allen’s run were denied, one-on-one, by Harte in the fourth quarter what would have been a winner while Pembroke failed to break through leading to a share of the spoils.
Glenanne 6 (Stephen Butler, Graham Shaw, Jonathan Kane, Joe Brennan, Gary Shaw) Annadale 4 (Ian Hamilton 2, John Edgar, Michael Purcell) The status quo remained at the top of Pool B but Glenanne gave their supporter’s a major scare in Tallaght as they trailed winless Annadale 3-1 with ten minutes to go only to run up five strikes in jig-time.
Stephen Butler broke the deadlock from a short corner but Ian Hamilton, taking over the shooting mantle from his namesake Neil, netted to tie the game by half-time.
And John Edgar and Michael Purcell built a 3-1 Annadale lead in the second half as Glenanne initially sought to rest players but found themselves under threat. The news from Cookstown, though, was in their favour with Three Rock leading at Coolnafranky.
Nonetheless, the Glens made sure they did it on their own terms in a madcap final 12 minutes which featured six goals. Graham Shaw reduced the deficit and then a super strike from skipper Joe Brennan tied the game up. Johnny Kane was next to register to hand Glenanne a winning position only for Ian Hamilton to score a second drag-flick for 4-4.
But inside the final two minutes, Gary Shaw popped up twice at the back post to hand the Glens the win and second place in the group.
Lisnagarvey 6 (Timmy Cockram 4, Peter MacDonnell 2) Cork C of I 3 (John Jermyn 3) Lisnagarvey led all the way to snuff out Cork C of I in another high-scoring IHL fixture, topping the group with Timmy Cockram excelling with four more to his tally and remain the competition’s top scorer.
International team-mate John Jermyn notched a hat-trick but lost their individual shoot-out in CI’s final game of the season.
Cockram struck twice inside ten minutes before Jermyn pulled one back before the break for 2-1.
Cockram bagged his third in the third quarter before Jermyn, with another corner pulled one back.
Cockram’s fourth, though, was the gamebreaker before Peter MacDonnell finally added a different name to the scoresheet. Jermyn recorded his hat-trick to reel in the deficit to 5-3 but MacDonnell bagged a winning bonus point when he got the game’s ninth goal.
Cookstown 1 (David Ames) Three Rock Rovers 2 (Shane Madeley, Michael Maguire, Pierre de Voux) Back-to-back wins in Ulster meant Three Rock ended Pool B in second place, ending a season marked by injuries and emigration on a high point.
Shane Madeley scored his first IHL goal with Rovers first shot of the game with a reverse across Ian Hughes after picking the ball up on halfway for a fine goal.
And Rovers moved two ahead while Ian Sloan was in the sin-bin, Michael Maguire netting a corner rebound in the second half.
Cookstown were briefly down to eight men as Colin Donaldson and Ian Hutchinson were both to join Sloan on the sideline and put Cookstown’s dreams on the brink of disaster.
Pierre de Voux made it three on the counter, mopping up Patrick Shanahan’s rebound before Cookstown denied Rovers a bonus point through David Ames to beat Stephen West.
Pool B standings: 1. Lisnagarvey 15pts (+13) 2. Glenanne 14pts (+6) 3. Three Rock Rovers 9pts (-5) 4. Cookstown 8pts (-1) 5. Cork C of I 7pts (-5) 6. Annadale 2pts (-8)
* For Adrian Boehm's photos from Corinthian vs Instonians, click here. Emer Keogh's photos from Pembroke vs Monkstown can be seen here