Three Rock Rovers have booked the first of the two available places for European hockey next season after beating Pembroke Wanderers in a penalty shoot-out after a 2-2 draw in the Irish Senior Cup final at UCD yesterday afternoon.
Hopes of an Ulster team landing the trophy for only the second time in nine years ended on Saturday when Lisnagarvey lost to Pembroke after extra time in the first semi-final, and now the focus will switch to the Irish Hockey League which starts next weekend and runs through to early April when the main representative for Europe will be decided.
It was a big disappointment for Garvey who recall all too well that it was Pembroke who beat them in the 2000 final, again after extra time.
This time they fell a goal behind to Alan Sothern's penalty corner drag flick but early in the second half Richard Arneill levelled and when Timmy Cockram put away a penalty corner there was genuine belief that Errol Lutton's lads could make it through to the decider.
But they had barely stopped celebrating the goal when Cillian Hynds made it 2-2 and so the game went to extra time and it was Pembroke who grabbed a dramatic last minute winner through Sothern.
There was further bad news for the Blues when word came through that arch rivals Banbridge had beaten bottom team Raphoe 9-0 and are now six points clear at the top although with two extra games played.
And with 17 goals in their last two games, Bann temporarily have a better goal difference of five, although Garvey have three games left to overturn this.
Top scorer Stephen Dowds claimed four for Bann against Raphoe with Eugene Magee getting a brace.
In the other Premier game, two goals from Greg Allen helped Cookstown win 4-1 at Belfast Harlequins to move closer to third place.
In Senior One, Newry crushed third placed Portadown 5-0 to finish their programme unbeaten, a tremendous feat for Robbie Taylor's lads.
Irish Senior Cup final: Three Rock Rovers 2 (M Darling, P Blakeney) Pembroke Wanderers 2 (C Harte, T Hill) Three Rock win 5-4 on penalty strokes).
Semi-finals: Lisnagarvey 2 (R Arneill, T Cockram) Pembroke Wanderers 3 (A Sothern 2, C Hynds); Three Rock Rovers 4 (M Darling 2, F Morris, J Hoskings) Monkstown 0
Ulster Premier League: Belfast Harlequins 1 (L McClelland) Cookstown 4 (G Allen 2, M Crooks, K Black); Banbridge 9 (S Dowds 4, E Magee 2, F Mills, R Beattie, S Magowan) Raphoe 0
Senior One: Campbellians 6 (S McMillan 2, J Easlie 2, J Clarke, C Bannister) Antrim 3 (N McCullough, D Wilson, L Kane); Portadown 0 Newry 5 (R Nummy 2, R Irwin, J Taylor, Own Goal); North Down 6 (S Watt 2, M Black, A Forrest, D Shepherd, P Ritchie) Bangor 1 (J Mottenshaw)