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Milliken's heroics preserve Lisnagarvey's perfect EY Hockey League start


By Graham Hamilton

Lisnagarvey are the only EY Irish Hockey League team left with an unblemished record following Saturday's 2-1 win at Three Rock - and on this occasion, it was goalkeeper James Milliken who was the hero.

The keeper certainly came of age at Grange Road when he defied the current all-Ireland champions with a breathtaking performance between the sticks.

Daniel Buser and Daniel Nelson gave the Blues a 2-1 lead but Milliken's numerous saves kept them in front to move them within a point of leaders Glenanne with a game in hand.

Milliken faced nine penalty corners but conceded only once, thanks to a handful of remarkable saves against a prolific attack which included internationals Mitch Darling, Peter Blakeney and Ben Walker.

Garvey's three straight IHL wins, as well as their cup victory over Banbridge, gives them a healthy base to build upon after the Halloween break.

It took skipper Buser just 75 seconds to put Garvey ahead and although Blakeney levelled from a penalty corner, Nelson's second-half goal proved the winner.

With Glenanne held to a 3-3 draw at Pembroke, and Banbridge squandering the lead to lose 3-1 at Monkstown, it means Garvey have the momentum.

Annadale were also rubbing their hands with glee - their 4-1 win at Cookstown took them clear of the trouble zone and left their Tyrone rivals with four straight losses.

Australian Rhiley Carr's two strikes played a major part in their success, as did player/coach Peter Caruth's crucial third goal.

Meanwhile, in the Ulster Premier League, Instonians beat Civil Service 4-1 with Ben Palmer's double making the difference, although keeper Sam Brown pulled off a handful of crucial saves including one from a Chris Barnes penalty stroke.

There were also comfortable wins for Kilkeel, Antrim, Bangor, North Down and South Antrim.

IHL: Cookstown 1 (S Smyth) Annadale 4 (R Carr 2, D Tremlett, P Caruth); Three Rock 1 (P Blakeney) Lisnagarvey 2 (D Buser, D Nelson); Monkstown 3 (G Sarratt, K Smyth, D Carson) Banbridge 1 (Z McClelland); Pembroke 3 (J Ryan, C Murphy, K Shimmins) Glenanne 3 (E O'Malley 2, R Couse); C of I v Railway (off).

Premier: Antrim 6 (D Wilson 2, J McMeekin 2, E Creighton, R McCrea) Cliftonville 0; Bangor 3 (R Burgess, S Cox, D McClune) Mossley 0; Kilkeel 7 (G Russell 3, J Finlay, D Finlay, J Aiken, R Cunningham) Queen's 0; Portadown 1 (A Stevenson) North Down 4 (J Gilmore 2, G McKeown, M Nicholls); South Antrim 4 (C Henry 2, A Glass, W Phillips) Harlequins 2 (L McClelland, R Quigley); Instonians 4 (B Palmer 2, R McKnight, W Robinson) Civil Service 1 (C Barnes); Newry v Raphoe (off).

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