Waterford complete fairytale rise as side prevails in Irish Hockey Trophy final
Team on brink of extinction in 2006 beat NICS to lift first national cup since 1922
Banbridge’s Jamie Wright in action for Ireland in 2007. The player scored twice for Banbridge in their 6-1 win over Pembroke. Photograph: Inpho
Waterford completed their fairytale rise from the brink of extinction to win their first national cup title since 1922 when they beat NICS 3-1 in the Irish Hockey Trophy final at Grange Road.
In the wake of the 2006 season, the club was on the verge of closing its doors but a remarkable volume of work with their youth section has seen an incredible rebirth of their senior section.
Five years ago, they started again in Munster Division Three and they only made it back into the regional top tier last summer.
Ben Johnson is one of the star pupils of the academy and he produced a virtuoso performance in this final, scoring two drag-flicks and generally being unbeatable in each one-on-one encounter for the ball.
Harry McCarthy – their other Irish Under-21 panellist – fizzed home the other for a 3-0 half-time scoreline. Service fought back in the second half and got on the board via David Whittington but the Deise side were not to be denied a first win at this level and a first national title since the Irish Senior Cup in 97 years.
Elsewhere, the men’s EY Champions Trophy places were decided when Banbridge hammered Pembroke 6-1, a big reversal of the 5-2 result in the Dubliners’ favour a week before.
Jamie Wright scored twice in the first two minutes to set the tone and Pembroke never recovered.
Three Rock Rovers hammered Cookstown 8-2 to make it 12 wins in a row and move within a point of leaders Lisnagarvey. Garvey, though, can win the title on Wednesday night should they beat Annadale.
As such, the Rovers result may have more impact at the bottom as it dropped Cookstown into the automatic relegation place behind Cork C of I on goal difference with one game to go.