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Lisnagarvey go for Broke in EY play-offs semi-final

By Graham Hamilton

Lisnagarvey will face Pembroke Wanderers in the EY Irish Champions Trophy semi-final play-offs at Banbridge at the end of this month, following the completion of the Irish Hockey League programme on Saturday.

International striker Mikey Watt bagged himself a hat-trick in a 6-0 romp over Railway Union at Hillsborough and later in the afternoon it was confirmed that Pembroke's 3-2 success over Cork C of I meant they had leapfrogged Three Rock Rovers and Glenanne to finish fourth and earn the semi-final slot against the Blues.

Garvey certainly have been the form team this season, winning 17 of their 18-match programme to finish a massive 16 points clear of the pack and also reaching the Irish Senior Cup final where they lost controversially to Monkstown.

They received the IHL Trophy from EY's Michael Kidd and now can plan ahead for their showdown against Pembroke ... a team they have beaten 3-2 twice this season.

The other semi-final will involve Banbridge who finished third and Monkstown who finished runners-up.

Monkstown confined Annadale to relegation back to provincial hockey as Gareth Watkins claimed a hat-trick in a 6-3 success while Bann edged out Glenanne 3-2 with Bruce McCandless scoring twice.

The other issue to be sorted was the ninth place and unfortunately for Cookstown their 2-0 win at Three Rock Rovers wasn't enough to preserve their IHL status for another season.

Cork C of I, the team immediately above them, lost 3-2 to Pembroke on Saturday but shocked Monkstown 3-1 yesterday - and so finished three points ahead of the Tyrone men, moving up to seventh and leaving Railway Union in eighth.

Cookstown will now face a play-off against the Provincial Play-offs runners-up, which will be decided at Three Rock's ground next weekend.

The first phase of the play-offs were decided over the last few days, with Instonians qualifying from Pool A at Lisnagarvey but the two other Ulster teams, Belfast Harlequins and Raphoe, both missed out.

Inst topped their pool with wins over Raphoe (5-0) and UCD (2-1) and yesterday's draw against UCC (1-1) and will now face Pool B runners-up Bandon in the semi-final at Three Rock on Saturday (3pm), while Clontarf and UCD will meet in the other semi (5pm).

The final to decide who takes Annadale's place in the IHL next season will take place on Sunday (3.30pm).

Raphoe lost all three games in their pool while Harlequins keeper Iain Kelly reached a memorable milestone with his 1,000th game but, unfortunately, they didn't make it to the IHL next season, which was his other ambition.

Meanwhile the race for automatic promotion to the Ulster Premier League continues, with Campbellians one point ahead of Queen's after both won again on Saturday and now all hinges on their final game - against each other at The Dub.

EY Irish Hockey League (Saturday): Lisnagarvey 6 (M Watt 3, T Cockram, M Nelson, A Williamson) Railway Union 0; Banbridge 3 (B McCandless 2, S Dowds) Glenanne 2 (E O'Malley, D Keogh); Three Rock Rovers 0 Cookstown 2 (S Todd, G Allen); Monkstown 6 (G Watkins 3, K Good, G Sarratt, J Bruton) Annadale 3 (M Robson, J Cox, C Roberts); Pembroke Wanderers 3 (A Sothern, K Shimmins, R Flannery) Cork C of I 2 (S Wolfe, S Sweetnam).

(Yesterday): Cork C of I 3 (J Jermyn 2, J Dale) Monkstown 1 (D Carson)

EY Provincial Play-offs Pool A (Lisnagarvey): Instonians 5 (W Robinson 2, J Corry, C Kirk, S Kelso) Raphoe 0; UCD 1 UCC 0; Instonians 2 (W Robinson, M Irwin) UCD 1; Raphoe 0 UCC 4; Instonians 1 (W Robinson) UCC 1; UCD 7 Raphoe 2

Pool B: Belfast Harlequins 0 Bandon 2; Corinthian 1 Clontarf 1; Belfast Harlequins 2 (L McClelland, J Hutchinson) Corinthian 1; Bandon 1 Clontarf 1; Belfast Harlequins 1 (N Anderson) Clontarf 3; Corinthian 3 Bandon 2

Ulster Senior League: Campbellians 2 (J Clarke, A Burnside) Bangor 1 (R Burgess); Queen's 7 (G Leckey 3, R Blair 3, A Bell) Antrim 4 (D Wilson 3, A Reilly)

Sussex Regiment Cup: Ballynahinch 1 (A McIlwaine) Cliftonville 5 (M McKimm 3, S Anderson, W Booker).

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