Hope springs eternal for Railway Union after timely win

Splendid English strike against Cookstown seals victory in campaign to avoide relegation

Mark English's rocket of a shot gave Railway Union's hopes of avoiding the drop from the men's EY Hockey League, beating Cookstown 3-2 and setting up a massive dogfight with the Co Tyrone side over their remaining six games.

It has been a tough campaign for the Sandymount side with a number of key performers emigrating to Australia last summer.

As such, the squad has been trimmed significantly with goals hard to come by, netting just seven in 11 outings prior to this one.

But they took their chances, Will Fernandez getting a touch to English's cross for the lead. Ryan Millar levelled before Simon McKeever's neatly worked corner restored the Railway advantage going into the final quarter.


Again, with a greater portion of possession, Cookstown got level when Stu Smyth ripped in a corner but English got his chance in a frantic final nine minutes to pick out the top corner.

It moves Railway level with Cookstown on six points with the two locked in a straight battle to avoid last place which brings automatic relegation while ninth leads to a playoff against the second placed side from the provincial playoffs.

Cork CofI moved six points clear of that pair courtesy of a Julian Dale wonder goal that saw them draw 3-3 with Lisnagarvey.

The striker is developing a particular speciality in terms, using all three dimensions to lob goalkeepers and create viral hits. This is perhaps his best one yet, catching a John Jermyn overhead bomb on his stick before lifting the ball over James Milliken in mid-air.

Own hands

The draw was a far cry from their 10-0 loss to the same opposition before Christmas and adds to their recent draw against league leaders Glenanne.

The upshot for the Glens is that their 2-1 win over Annadale – Shane O'Donoghue scoring twice – moved them 10-points clear at the top.

Garvey have two games in hand and face Glenanne in the title run-in, but the weekend’s results take their chances out of their own hands.

Banbridge scored three times in the final quarter to beat Pembroke 3-1 while Monkstown and Three Rock Rovers' game was postponed due to the funeral of Michael Darling, father of Rovers' Olympian Mitch.

In the Leinster league, a three-way tie remains in place at the top of Division One. Corinthian swept to a 7-3 win over Rathgar, backing up their incredible midweek Mills Cup semi-final win over Glenanne in style.

They are level with UCD, 11-0 winners over Weston, and YMCA who beat Avoca 3-1.

Stephen Findlater

Stephen Findlater

Stephen Findlater is a contributor to The Irish Times writing about hockey