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Bann, Garvey shuffled out but Red Army back into IHL


By Graham Hamilton

Don't mention shuffles to Banbridge or Lisnagarvey, for both Ulster clubs failed to measure up in this form of shoot-out over the weekend and bowed out of the EY Irish Champions Trophy at the semi-final stage.

Bann missed the chance of keeping alive their dream of an historic all-Ireland trophy treble by losing out after an incredible eight rounds of shuffles when players get the chance to run at the goalkeeper and attempt to score inside eight seconds.

And Ulster rivals Lisnagarvey made their exit in similar fashion, leaving Three Rock to go on and win yesterday's final 2-1 against Monkstown.

But it wasn't all doom and gloom for Ulster clubs at Grange Road over the weekend - Cookstown won the promotion/relegation play-off to book their place in the Irish Hockey League next season, coming from two behind to beat UCD 4-3.

But what a huge disappointment for Bann and Garvey who both did enough to book their place in yesterday's decider but instead lost out in identical fashion, coming from behind to force 3-3 draws with last minute goals.

Bann, with the IHL title and the Irish Senior Cup already under their belt, trailed at the interval to a Lee Cole penalty stroke but Eugene Magee levelled nine minutes into the second half from a penalty corner.

Then David Carson scored on the reverse and again with a deflection for Monkstown before Owen Magee converted a Fraser Mills cross and then levelled with a rocket into the roof of the net with just 43 seconds left.

The first set of five shuffles ended level at 3-3 and it was the third set of sudden death before Monkstown emerged winners.

The defeat doesn't detract from a tremendous season from Mark Tumilty's squad but it does mean they will go into Europe as Ireland's number two, which means a difficult pool phase.

Garvey's exit was similar - they needed an equaliser from Andy Williamson 42 seconds from the end to force the shoot-out.

Kevin Mullins put Three Rock ahead but Timmy Cockram levelled and Dan Nelson put them ahead from Daniel Buser's cross.

But Luke Madeley's penalty corner and Ross Canning's penalty stroke gave Town a 3-2 lead before Williamson's late goal.

Once again the Ulster team suffered in the shuffles and Three Rock won 3-2.

Meanwhile Cookstown are back into the IHL despite a sluggish start when they fell behind to goals from Andrew Fogarty and Jeremy Duncan.

But they stepped up a gear in the second half and Paul Thompson pulled one back, Keith Black levelled with a penalty stroke. And then Black's reverse was deflected home by Ryan Millar to give Cookstown the lead.

Duncan levelled for the Dublin students but Greg Allen secured the win late on.

"There's no doubt we have the quality, but we must show that more often," said coach Steven Cuddy afterwards.

"This crowns a great season, but it's not over yet - we've still the Anderson Cup to come!"

EY Irish Champions Trophy semi-finals (Grange Road, Dublin): Banbridge 3 (O Magee 2, E Magee) Monkstown 3 (D Carson 2, L Cole) Monkstown won 6-5 on shuffles); Three Rock Rovers 3 (K Mullins, L Madeley, R Canning) Lisnagarvey 3 (T Cockram, D Nelson, A Williamson) Three Rock won 3-2 on shuffles).

Final: Monkstown 1 (D Carson) Three Rock 2 (K Mullins, M Darling)

IHL Promotion/Relegation Play-off (Grange Road, Dublin): UCD 3 (J Duncan 2, A Fogarty) Cookstown 4 (P Thompson, K Black, R Millar, G Allen)

Senior One: Queen's 3 (G Leckey, R Kelly, G Anderson) Antrim 0; South Antrim 9 (C Henry 3. P Maguire 3, A Glass 2, P Wilson) Bangor 3

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