Cookstown shock Pembroke to reach semis
Cookstown snatched a sensational 3-2 win over Pembroke Wanderers at Steelweld Park on Saturday to defy the odds and reach the semi-final of the Irish Senior Cup in which they will be joined by Lisnagarvey in March.
The Ulster sides have been kept apart in the draw with Garvey, comfortable 5-0 quarter-final winners over Cork C of I, facing Glenanne at Comber Road and Cookstown hosting UCD.
While Garvey's win over the Munster League side was expected, Cookstown went into their game with Pembroke as underdogs, having been relegated from the top-flight last season.
The Irish Hockey League side were 2-0 up at half-time after goals from Rio Olympian Alan Sothern and Jack Ryan and seemingly on the way to confirming their favourites status.
But Cookstown clearly hadn't read the script as they staged a stunning comeback to turn the tables, Stuart Smyth, Jack Haycock and Scott McCabe, with a 68th winner, replying in the second-half.
"It was a brilliant game and even when we were 2-0 down and a bit slow getting into the game, we rallied and changed a few things around the back at half-time," said Reds striker Greg Allen, who set up the winner.
"To be fair, Pembroke were much the better side in the first-half and deserved their lead - they are a team with a lot of quality players.
"Being two down made our job pretty simple in the second half. We had nothing to lose and we knew that we had to throw everything at them.
"Thankfully, we got the goals we needed for the game to go our way."
Lisngarvey never looked in any danger of relinquishing their unbeaten record as they swept past Cork C of I, who, like Cookstown, were demoted from the IHL last April.
Garvey captain James Corry said: "Cork made it hard for us and they are a good side and one that I think could hold their own in the IHL."
Daniel Nelson, Andy Williamson and Troy Chambers scored to make it 3-0 at the break with Peter McKibbin and Williamson, again, wrapping things up after the restart.
RESULTS: Irish Senior Cup quarter-finals: Cookstown 3 (S Smyth, J Haycock, S McCabe) Pembroke 2 (A Sothern, J Ryan); Glenanne 2 Monkstown 0; Lisnagarvey 5 (D Nelson, A Williamson 2, T Chambers, P McKibbin) Cork C of I 0.
Ulster Premier: Ballynahinch 0 North Down 6 (M Black 2, P Wilson 2, G McKeown, D Morris); Instonians 2 (W Robinson 2) Raphoe 2 (T Orr, K Meehan); Portadown 5 (S Johnson, M Winter, J Curran, R Bennett, M Beattie) Newry 2 (D England, K McWilliams).
Intermediate League: Antrim 4 (J Roe 2, A McBride, C Wilson) Civil Service 3 (C Brown 2, S Armstrong); Armagh 4 (B Mackey 2, C Reddick 2) Saintfield 1.