Cookstown warning to hockey rivals
Cookstown captain Ian Hutchinson sent out a chilling warning to other teams just moments after collecting his second major trophy of the season.
The Red Army clinched the Podium Premier League title on Saturday after a 5-3 success at Bangor, to add to the Kirk Cup won on Boxing Day.
But Hutchinson warns that there's still almost three months of the season left ... and that his team are gunning for the two all-Ireland titles too.
Stephen Cuddy led the way with two goals for the Tyrone men, with the others coming from brother Gareth, Andy Barbour and a fine individual effort from Stuart Smyth and it guaranteed a second successive Premier title with two games to spare.
But Hutchinson and coaches Michael Haycock and Geoff Hamilton are now setting other targets, particularly on the all-Ireland front.Cookstown learned that they will be meeting old rivals Banbridge in the Irish Senior Cup quarter-finals after Bann had a fine 2-1 success at Cork Harlequins on Saturday, with Simon Magowan on the mark twice.
It means Ulster are guaranteed a place in the final, as the semi-final draw has paired the winners of Cookstown and Banbridge against the Annadale side who eliminated Dublin side Corithian 3-1 on Saturday, their goals coming from Ian Hamilton, Paul Jackson and Frazer Mills.
The other semi will be an all-Dublin affair, with Pembroke facing old rivals Glenanne. Pembroke beat Mossley 6-0 while Glenanne needed penalty strokes to see off Three Rock Rovers.
But back to Cookstown and their new targets.
"We've still got an interest in the Irish Hockey League, and next up is a home game against Cork Harlequins next Saturday, and after a week's break for the senior inter-provincials in Cork, we have that Irish Senior Cup quarter-final against Bann," said Hutchinson who actually missed the title-winning game against Bangor due to a one-game ban imposed by the Ulster Branch.
"We would also love to finish the league programme unbeaten, just like we did last year, but the remaining two games will have to be squeezed in midweek," said Hutchinson.
In Saturday's other Premier League game Instonians sent bottom team Raphoe ever closer to a quick return to Senior One following a 4-0 success at the Donegal venue.
And it looks like being a straight fight between North Down and Kilkeel to see who will replace them, with the Comber men hitting double figures against Ballynahinch and the Mourne men beating rivals Civil Service 4-3.
Irish Senior Cup 2nd round: Cork Harlequins 1 (D Hobbs) Banbridge 2 (S Magowan 2); Quarter-finals: Mossley 0 Pembroke Wanderers 6 (J Sherriff 2, C Harte 2, G Elliott, V Erasmus); Three Rock Rovers 4 Glenanne 8 (after penalty strokes); Annadale 3 (I Hamilton), P Jackson, F Mills) Corinthian 1 (D Carson)Podium Premier League: Bangor 3 (A Reading, C Campbell, G Morton) Cookstown 5 (S Cuddy 2, A Barbour, S Smyth, G Cuddy); Raphoe 0 Instonians 4 (M Irwin, C Barnes, M Martin, W Robinson)Senior One: Kilkeel 4 (K Bingham 2, G Russell, C Cunningham) Civil Service 3 (P Johnston 2, G Grundie); North Down 10 (A Forrestt 3, S Magee 3, M Forrest, R Linter, P Wright, C Speers) Ballynahinch 0; South Antrim 0 Antrim 3 (P McKeown, R Maybin, I Brownlees); Belfast Harlequins 3 (C Montgomery, C Murphy, D Anderson) Queen's 2 (S Watt 2); Newry 8 (R Nummy 3, K McCombe, C Henning, J Greer, D Hogg) Armagh 0; Portadown 2 (C Gregg, D Winter) Cliftonville 1 (J Stevenson)