Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Cookstown now turn to cups

Instonians' scorer Mark Glenhorne finds his way blocked by Lisnagarvey's Steven Arbuthnot

Cookstown have barely time to savour their table-topping position in the newly-branded Podium Premier League.

Coaches Michael Haydock and Geoff Hamilton were over the moon at their team's four-goal success over previous leaders Banbridge on Saturday which saw them move to the top at the halfway stage of the campaign.

But they'll be bringing the players back down to earth at training this week as they quickly turn their attention to the Irish Senior Cup and a fourth round trip to Dublin on Saturday where YMCA are waiting.

The Tyrone lads were bitterly disappointed at losing their Kirk Cup semi-final to Annadale just over a week ago, but their 4-0 demolition of arch rivals Bann was the perfect antidote.

And as the league programme goes into mothballs, while the international team build up towards February's Olympic Games qualifier in New Zealand, their sights are now being trained on the Irish Senior Cup and also the Anderson Cup.

It was Keith Black who did the early damage against Bann, scoring the first two goals.

And further scores from Gareth Cuddy and Irish international Andy Barbour left Bann wondering where their season is going, following successive defeats which has seen them concede seven goals and none scored.

Lisnagarvey got the boost they wanted ahead of their trip to Dublin to take on Fingal - three valuable league points at Instonians which hauls them right back into the title frame after a shaky start which saw them lose twice early in the programme.

Timmy Cockram converted a first half penalty corner and then set up skipper Mark Raphael for the second, and despite a determined Inst rally, which produced a Mark Gleghorne penalty corner strike, they held on for a 2-1 success.

League champions Annadale are also off to Dublin next week to take on Cup holders Glenanne, and their 4-0 league win at Mossley - sparked by two Neil Hamilton goals - will give them belief that they can put up a good fight.

The other talking point in the league on Saturday was the 11-goal thriller at Kilkeel, where the Mournemen lost 6-5 to Bangor to stay rooted to the foot of the table.

Spare a thought for striker William Annett who claimed a hat-trick and still ended up on the losing side!

Bangor are now safely out of the trouble zone€ and knocking on the door for possible qualification to next season's All-Ireland League.

Antrim and Civil Service stole a march on the other Senior One title contenders by winning at Queen's and South Antrim respectively.

Of the other challengers, Raphoe's game was postponed and Belfast Harlequins and North Down shared four goals.

At the other end of the table Scott Caruth was the toast of Cliftonville, his late goal against Portadown giving them their first point of the season and a timely lift after that 17-goal mauling in the Irish Senior Cup a few weeks ago.

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