Glenanne move step closer to league glory after pushing Railway Union off track

Shane O’Donoghue’s one-handed finish yields narrow victory and nine-point lead at top

Glenanne’s Shane O’Donoghue in action for Ireland last year. O’Donoghue’s strike gave his side a victory over Railway Union. Photograph: Inpho/Presseye

Glenanne’s Shane O’Donoghue in action for Ireland last year. O’Donoghue’s strike gave his side a victory over Railway Union. Photograph: Inpho/Presseye

 

It was something of a slog at times for Glenanne but a 1-0 win over basement side Railway Union saw them make another big step toward the EY Hockey League crown.

Shane O’Donoghue’s one-handed finish from a Gary Shaw dinked pass was a rare moment of quality at St Andrew’s as Railway were content to sit deep and try to get something on the counter.

The Glens, though, are masters of the single-goal win this term with nine of their 12 successes coming by that margin, and they were able to play out the victory.

As a result, by the weekend’s end, they had a nine-point lead over Lisnagarvey – who drew 3-3 with Pembroke – and 10 to spare over Three Rock who won a 6-3 cracker against Banbridge.

Four rounds left

Both those clubs have a game in hand but, with just four rounds left to play, it would be fanciful to think that Glenanne could blow this commanding position.

Indeed, they showed their battling spirit on Sunday in their Irish Senior Cup quarter-final tie against Monkstown where Shannon Boucher popped up with a buzzer-beating winner from a penalty corner to make it 3-2.

As always, Iain Walker played his part, saving a penalty stroke as Monkstown gave them more than a run for their money. Andrew Ward’s opening goal was cancelled out by a Gavin Gibney goal for 1-1 at half-time. O’Donoghue and Davy Carson exchanged quick-fire goals to set up another tense finish.

But in such circumstances, there only ever appears to be one winner and the Glens duly provided the last gasp drama when Richie Shaw intercepted a hit out and was bundled over. The setup was perfect and Boucher applied the winning shot.

Their reward is a semi-final date with Three Rock Rovers on April 7th.

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