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Allen sinks Kilkeel as Cookstown clinch cup

Cookstown 5 - Kilkeel 2

By Graham Hamilton

Cookstown completed a memorable season by landing the Anderson Cup at Banbridge's Havelock Park last night ... the fourth piece of silverware they have collected this term.

And it turned out to be a special occasion for Greg Allen and also Ryan Millar and Stuart Smyth who all reached goalscoring milestones in the 5-2 cup final win over holders Kilkeel.

Allen gave the Tyrone men the lead with his 50th goal of the season, Millar got their second for his 30th goal of the season and Smyth wrapped things up in the final minute with his 20th goal of the season.

It was tough luck on the Mourne side who gave a good account of themselves, particularly in the second half when their attacking play deserved more than one goal.

But in the end Cookstown were the more clinical side and so the Anderson Cup returns to Steelweld Park for the first time since 2014 to complete a trophy-laden campaign.

First up was the Nigel Cheevers Memorial Trophy and although they lost heavily in the Boxing Day Kirk Cup final to Annadale, they steadied the ship to win the Ulster Premier League title.

They also won the Ulster Indoor title and secured promotion back to the Irish Hockey League by beating UCD in the Provincial Promotion/Relegation play-off.

"We wanted to finish off the season on a high," said Cookstown co-coach Steven Cuddy. "We take the Anderson Cup seriously, and it's great to win again.

"And it was great to see young keeper Josh McCabe have a fine game in the absence of our regular Tobias Deppermann."

Allen's opener against Kilkeel came after 20 minutes after good work by Dan Crooks and Millar deflected in the second from Paul Thompson's cross.

Kilkeel keeper Sam Morris was pulling off some fine saves and his skipper Neil Stevenson then hit the post.

It was Mark Stevenson who finally pulled one back 11 minutes into the second half from a penalty stroke but they had barely time to celebrate when Jonny Ames slipped in two goals in the space of three minutes.

Mark Stevenson got his second, was unlucky not to complete a hat-trick, and David Finlay, Eddie Agnew, William Annett and Luke Russell all came close before Stuart Smyth got Cookstown's fifth from a penalty corner in the final minute.

Meanwhile will it be Queen's making a welcome return to Ulster's top flight or will Campbellians secure their place for a second season?

The answer to that will be known later this evening when the two teams clash in the Promotion/Relegation play-off at Shaw's Bridge (7.15pm), with the winners getting the opportunity to feature in the Premier League next season and the losers taking their place in Senior One.

It has been a decade since the Queen's students last played at the top table but by finishing runners-up to South Antrim in Senior One, they have given themselves a fighting chance.

Campbellians struggled in their first season in the Premier League but believe the experience gained will be beneficial if they can survive this play-off.

Finally Ulster Hockey celebrate a successful season with a gala dinner at the Hilton Hotel in Templepatrick on Friday.

There will be an array of trophies to be presented to the various league winners at both men's and women's level and also a handful of special awards to individuals and teams.

These include the men's Player of the Year, Personality of the Year, Leading Goalscorer and Fair Play Award.

And there are similar awards on the women's front as well as the Winifred Templeton Award.

Also on show will be the various inter-provincial trophies and national trophies won by Ulster.

 

Belfast Telegraph

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