YMCA secure place in the men’s EY Hockey League for first time

Nervous YMCA survive late Bangor rally to win the provincial promotion playoff series

YMCA  will replace Railway Union in the top tier. Photograph: Inpho

YMCA will replace Railway Union in the top tier. Photograph: Inpho

 

YMCA almost contrived to blow it but eventually secured a place in the men’s EY Hockey League for the first time as they beat Bangor in a shoot-out at the Mardyke to win the provincial promotion playoff series.

The Ballinteer-based club looked all but home and hosed with 10 minutes to go of the playoff final when Sam Hyland put them 4-1 ahead following a largely dominant performance.

Indeed, they led 3-0 via a Ben Campbell double and one from Jamie Tobin. But suddenly got white-line fever and the coast Ulster side pounced to score a scarcely believable three times in the last eight minutes with Ryan Burgess scoring a hat trick.

Level at 4-4, it sent the game to a shoot-out with Bangor holding the momentum but YM regathered with goalkeeper Jakim Bernsden keeping out two efforts before Andrew Jones popped in the winning effort.

It was a suitably dramatic endgame to match their season. The Dubliners looked down and out in January, falling nine points behind Corinthian in Leinster Division One but got a big reprieve when a registration error from Dublin University saw the Y pick up three points from an initial 2-1 loss.

It was the key margin between a third place finish in the provincial league and top spot, edging out Corinthian only via goal difference, meaning they skipped the minefield of the wildcard playoffs.

With promotion assured, they can look forward to an exciting season ahead at the top table with the potential of their new - and slightly controversial - pitch in the pipeline at Wesley College soon.

They will replace Railway Union in the top tier as they lost 7-0 to Lisnagarvey in a game they needed to win. Cookstown will meet Bangor next Sunday in the last promotion-relegation playoff tie.

Pembroke, meanwhile, completed the line-up for the EY Champions Trophy with a 4-3 win over Cork C of I, Alan Sothern bringing his tally to 10 goals in a week with a brace.

MEN EY HOCKEY LEAGUE (Saturday): Annadale 3 (P Caruth, C Roberts, C Robson) Monkstown 3 (G Sarratt, S Cole); Glenanne 2 (S O’Donoghue, S Boucher) Banbridge 3 (J Moffett 2, E Magee) ; Lisnagarvey 7 (D Nelson 3, A Williamson 2, D Buser, M Nelson) Railway Union 0; Pembroke Wanderers 4 (A Sothern 2, S Sullivan, J Ryan) Cork C of I 3 (D Lynch, A Salter, A Gray); Three Rock Rovers 4 (H Morris 2, K Mullins, B Walker) Cookstown 1 (A Barbour)

EYHL Provincial Play-offs - semi-Finals (Saturday): Bangor 5 (R Burgess 2, R Cunningham, D McClune, S Hamill) Bandon 4 (C Sweetnam 2, D Smith 2); YMCA 5 (T Ritchie 2, J Tobin 2, B Campbell) Instonians 1

Final (Sunday): Bangor 4 (R Burgess 3, R Cunningham) YMCA 4 (B Campbell 2, J Tobin, S Hyland), YM win shoot-out 4-2

Leinster Division 1/2 playoff: Portrane 9 (Colin Neville 4, I Khan 2, P Conway, M Ahmed, Chris Neville) Weston 2

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