Red Army provide that little bit extra in hockey final
Cookstown 4 Lisnagarvey 3
The Hutchinson brothers had an eventful afternoon as Cookstown landed the Podium Kirk Cup after beating Lisnagarvey 4-3 after extra at Hillsborough.
Both Ian and Thomas ended up in the sin-bin in an eventful game but still played key roles as the Red Army took the trophy back up the motorway for the third time in seven years.
Thomas came off the substitutes bench to score the dramatic late winner in the second period of extra time while Ian, who was a tower of strength at the back, held the trophy aloft after receiving it from Ulster Branch president Ramond Hughes.
The big four-figure crowd certainly enjoyed the festive fare - seven goals and five in the sin bin gave them plenty to talk about.
The outcome, though, was a big disappointment for Garvey who were ahead both in normal time and in extra time before losing out.
With skipper Mark Raphael on the bench after being floored by the flu over the Christmas break, it disrupted Garvey’s tactics, but they refused to let it affect them and they closed Cookstown down at every opportunity.
When Raphael finally came on 19 minutes from the end, he made an impact and indeed put Garvey 3-2 in front in extra time with a delicate lob over advancing Cookstown goalkeeper Ian Hughes.
But it wasn’t to prove the winner, and the Tyrone men finished strongly to take the honours.
The first half ended up scoreless, although there were chances at both ends. Brian Waring, Timmy Cockram, Mark Daniel and Stuart McNeice all came close for Garvey and Gareth Cuddy, Andy Barbour and Ian Hutchinson were denied at the other end.
Hutchinson was the first to go to the sin bin after he prevented Cockram breaking through and indeed it was Cockram who finally broke the deadlock when he sent his penalty corner low to the keeper’s right just four minutes into the second half.
But Gareth Cuddy levelled matters in 48 minutes when his persistence paid off after Cookstown’s third corner was blocked twice.
Ivan Steen then stunned Garvey with a penalty corner strike five minutes later, but Cockram put away his second corner in the 56th minute to leave it 2-2 going into the last quarter.
Cockram then became the second of the five to be yellow carded, and he was soon followed by
Thomas Hutchinson and Keith Black of Cookstown and Johnny Gray, all for rash tackles.
The game went into extra time and it seemed Raphael had given Garvey the glory with his well-taken goal with just one minute and 48 seconds left in the first period.
But the young Garvey side showed their inexperience and instead of closing the game off, they had conceded the equaliser within 30 seconds, Colin Donaldson the marksman after his fine run up the left went unchallenged.
And the Red Army were given the opportunity to open the bubbly when Thomas Hutchinson stepped up to roof his team’s sixth penalty corner with just over two minutes left on the clock.
“It must have been a great game to watch, with plenty goals and plenty yellow cards, but I’m really pleased for our lads who worked so hard.,” said skipper Ian Ian Hutchinson.
And what about that great winner from younger brother Thomas?
“He has been working very hard over the past few weeks with Stephen Watt, and it paid off handsomely,” said Ian. “No goalkeeper could have stopped that effort!”
COOKSTOWN: Ian Hughes, Colin Donaldson, Ian Hutchinson, Euan Butler, Keith Black, D Ames, I Steen, D Best, A Barbour, G Cuddy, S Smyth. Subs: T Hutchinson, T Smyth, S Cuddy, G Allen, S Sloan.
LISNAGARVEY: K Lunn, I Davidson, B Waring, J Gray, J Bell, M Daniel, M Robinson, J Lynch, P MacDonnell, T Cockram, C Black. Subs: M Raphael, S McNeice, G Thompson, D Buser, D Williamson.
Umpires: C McConkey, C Hutchinson