Men’s hockey: Three Rock Rovers suffer two defeats in Europe

Glenanne hammer UCD to continue their fine start in EY Hockey League

Three Rock Rovers produced some fireworks but ultimately ended with two losses from the Euro Hockey League Ranking Cup weekend in Belgium.

The first was a Saturday 5-4 thriller against Belarus’s HC Minsk as Elun Hack’s youthful side scored some peaches but also lacked composure in key moments against an experienced outfit.

Ben Johnson and Fred Morris counter-attack finishes had them level at 2-2 and a beautiful Ryan Spencer deflection tied the game at 3-3 in the second half.

But a killer goal one second before end of the third quarter left them playing catch-up once again, before going 5-3 behind. Ali Haughton’s rising rocket cut the gap again but a golden chance was spurned in the last minutes to let Minsk hold on.

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On Sunday morning in the teeming rain, Hampstead & Westminster – packed with internationals from Wales, South Africa, England and USA – were too strong with Jody Hosking’s accurate strike the only reply in a 4-1 defeat.

At what level it leaves Three Rock to play at in 2022 remains to be seen once the ranking points are totted up by the European Hockey Federation with allocations to be released in the coming days.

Their performance saw them finish 17th overall while Lisnagarvey will be pegged with the minimum total from the EuroHockey Trophy II following their withdrawal.

Elsewhere, Glenanne continued their early season charge in the men’s EY Hockey League with a 6-0 win over UCD putting them five points clear at the top of the table. Shane O’Donoghue scored a first-half hat-trick, making it eight goals in four games for him to date.

Pembroke landed their first point with Julian Dale inspiring them to a 4-4 away draw at Banbridge while Corinthian continued their strong start to the season, beating Monkstown 2-1.

Stephen Findlater

Stephen Findlater

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