YMCA’s incredible start to the season continued apace as they held off Banbridge at Havelock Park to take a surprise share of top spot with Lisnagarvey after three rounds of the men’s EY Hockey League.
Pre-lockdown, they sat in the relegation playoff place before the season was voided but this year they look in no such danger as Ross Henderson, Grant Glutz and Peabo Lembethe helped them run up a 3-0 lead.
Bann did get back in the mix via Eugene Magee and Eddie Rowe but, like last week against UCD, YM’s penalty corner defence withstood a late barrage to record a big away win.
They sit on nine points now alongside Lisnagarvey who were much too strong for Corinthian who slumped to a third successive loss, falling 6-0. Troy Chambers was the star man, scoring twice and having a hand in a couple of the other goals.
Monkstown’s perfect record was broken by UCD in a 4-4 thriller at the Merrion Fleet Arena in a game where the lead changed hands four times. Town led 1-0 and 3-2 by half-time but also trailed 2-1 and 4-3 late in the game as they struggled to contain Mark Samuel’s roving efforts down the right. Davy Carson, however, popped up with the equaliser to share the spoils.
Pembroke landed their first points of the season with a 2-1 win in a bruising encounter against Glenanne at Serpentine Avenue. Shane O’Donoghue put the Glens in front but fellow Olympian Alan Sothern equalised before half-time and the winner arrived in the fourth quarter from Cian Murphy from Julian Dale’s assist.
Three Rock Rovers, meanwhile, were far too strong for Annadale, recording a 10-0 victory at Grange Road with Ben Johnson bringing his tally to six goals in three games to date.
Dale’s cause was not helped by injury to goalkeeper Sam Hamill at 6-0 with 22 minutes to go. With no recognised goalkeeper on the bench, they decided against padding up an outfielder with the additional complication of having to sanitise the full kit.
Men’s EYHL – day three results: Banbridge 2 (E Magee, E Rowe) YMCA 3 (G Glutz, R Henderson, P Lembethe); Lisnagarvey 6 (T Chambers 2, J Lynch, A Williamson, B Nelson, M Aughey) Corinthian 0; Monkstown 4 (D Carson 2, S Cole, R Nichols) UCD 4 (S Walker 2, G Sarratt, P Lynch); Pembroke 2 (A Sothern, C Murphy) Glenanne 1 (S O’Donoghue); Three Rock Rovers 10 (B Johnson 3, B Walker 2, L Adams, J Walker, H Morris, A Haughton, R Canning) Annadale 0
Saturday, October 17th: UCD v Three Rock Rovers, Belfield, 1pm; Monkstown v Banbridge, Merrion Fleet Arena, 2.15pm; Glenanne v Lisnagarvey, St Andrew’s, 3pm; Annadale v Corinthian, Lagan College, 3.30pm; YMCA v Pembroke, Wesley College, 4pm
Day three – extended reports
Pembroke 2 (A Sothern, C Murphy) Glenanne 1 (S O’Donoghue)
Pembroke came from a goal down to record their first win of the season from a bruising affair at Serpentine Avenue. Eric Foy was shown a yellow card just a couple of minutes in for swinging out at a Glens’ player off the ball following a tangle and the visitors went on to have the best of a tight first quarter but two corners pushed wide was the sum of the chances.
From corner three, however, Shane O’Donoghue found his bearings and planted a drag-flick in the bottom right corner for 1-0. Pembroke woke up from there and were the side the ascendancy; they saw Iain Walker punch away Alan Sothern’s drag and had another effort saved at the left post while Nick Burns reversed wide.
The goal was certainly coming and it arrived before half-time from a neat variation, the stopper sliding the ball left to open an angle for Sothern to flick home. Harry Spain kept it level with a save off the line on the half-time whistle from Glenanne’s fourth corner.
Pembroke continued in the ascendancy in the second half with Fionn O’Leary and Julian Dale going very close from big chances. They went in front early in the fourth quarter when Sothern picked up Foy’s long pass in the corner and cut inside to shoot. He took contact in that phase but the ball fell to Dale on the baseline who got the ball back to Cian Murphy to flick into an open goal.
Glenanne fought back, requiring Richard Sweetnam to put his body on the line to deny Richard Couse – taking a nasty blow to the hand into the bargain – and Mark Ingram pull out all the stops to keep out Couse and two more O’Donoghue corner attempts.
Monkstown 4 (D Carson 2, S Cole, R Nichols) UCD 4 (S Walker 2, G Sarratt, P Lynch)
Monkstown and UCD shared an eight-goal battle which saw the lead swap four times at the Merrion Fleet Arena. The tempo was set from the very outset with Peter Lynch’s spectacular volley fizzing wide with barely a couple of seconds on the clock. Monkstown had the lead in the second minute when Ryan Spencer’s shot hit Sam Walker’s foot on the line, Stephen Cole converting from the spot.
UCD quickly turned things around with Mark Samuel rampant down the right flank for the students and was the game’s most influential performer. He won a corner which Conor Empey slipped into the path of Walker who chipped over Dave Fitzgerald for 1-1.
Samuel was bundled over for a third UCD corner which Guy Sarratt skapped home at the second attempt from mid-circle. UCD were the side on top for most of the half and could have been further in front but for a huge Fitzgerald save from Ewan Ramsay but they found themselves trailing 3-2 at the big break.
First, Rory Nichols whipped in a high drag-flick and, within seconds, Davy Carson got his first of the day, guiding in a Keith Kenning push after a sustained wave of attacks.
It remained that way through the third quarter before UCD went back into the lead. First, from an unstopped corner, Town vacated the area in front of the goalkeeper where the ball was returned to the waiting Peter Lynch to bash in to control and bash in from close range.
Then Samuel ghosted around the back to the baseline and crossed for Walker to sweep in for 4-3. The lead did not last long, however, as Nichols got to the endline and picked out Carson to finish off.
Banbridge 2 (E Magee, E Rowe) YMCA 3 (G Glutz, R Henderson, P Lembethe)
YMCA continued their excellent run of form to start the men’s EY Hockey League and they now have almost as many wins as they managed in the whole of the 2019/20 campaign after just three weeks. It was built on a remarkable opening phase with Ross Henderson opening the scoring in the 12th minute, dragging the ball onto his reverse before slipping it through Luke Roleston.
Grant Glutz got his fourth of the season soon after when he powered home from mid circle and he played an instrumental in the third goal from a corner which Peabo Lembethe got a vital finish on.
Bann got a foothold in the game when Luke Witherow weaves his way to the backline and passed for Eugene Magee to score. The Co Down side held most of the play in the second half but found clear chances tough to come by.
They were right back in it, though, when Philip Brown went on a gallop before assisting Eddie Rowe to score his third goal in two games. Bann had four corners in the final quarter but YMCA’s defensive unit was immaculate once again to keep each of them out and preserve the points.
Lisnagarvey 6 (T Chambers 2, J Lynch, A Williamson, B Nelson, M Aughey) Corinthian 0
Lisnagarvey made it three wins from three with a comfortable win over Corinthian at Comber Road. The reds held them at bay until just before the end of the first quarter when great work from Daniel Nelson, driving into the circle, created the chance for Johnny Lynch to slot in.
From the restart, they almost instantly doubled the advantage when Harry Morris picked up the ball and strode forward and while the goalkeeper got a block, Troy Chambers pounced to lift the ball in. Andy Williamson dragged in the third from a corner for 3-0 after 25 minutes.
Ben Nelson’s sweet reverse-stick strike from James Corry’s assist started the second half scoring and it was 5-0 before the end of the third quarter courtesy of Matthew Aughey, finishing off from Chambers’ assist. Chambers then closed out the win with his second goal in the final quarter.
Three Rock Rovers 10 (B Johnson 3, B Walker 2, L Adams, J Walker, H Morris, A Haughton, R Canning) Annadale 0
Nine second half goals saw Three Rock Rovers race clear of Annadale to record their second win of the campaign with Ben Johnson’s hat trick making it six goals in three games. The first half saw plenty of pressure for Rovers but the only breakthrough came in the second quarter when Ross Canning’s through ball was touched in by Luke Adams.
But six goals in the third quarter saw the game quickly change complexion. Johnson’s corner started the run before Daragh Walsh set up Ben Walker for 3-0.
Johnson added the fourth with a backhand shot before completing his hat trick from a brilliant diving effort following Adams and Evan Jennings’ excellent approach work. James Walker’s wonder strike stretched the lead to six and Dale endured further pain when goalkeeper Sam Hamill was forced off injured with a hamstring problem.
With no recognised replacement on the bench, they considered putting an outfielder in the pads but decided against it with the requirement to sanitise the equipment. With no keeper in place, Harry Morris tapped in for 7-0 at the three quarter break and Ali Haughton, Ben Walker and a Ross Canning stroke completed the win.