Resourceful Glenanne live to fight another day
AWAY teams, particularly Glenanne and Pembroke Wanderers and - also modest Parkiew - distinguished themselves in the third round of the Irish Senior Cup on Saturday. "The battle of the Alamo" was the description given to Glenanne's survival against Holywood at Olympia, where the scoreless deadlock means that the clubs are due to meet at both senior and junior level in Dublin next weekend.
In Belfast, injuries to Ian Bolger in the first half and Frankie Byrne after the interval meant they needed hospital treatment, so Glenanne coach Aidan Kidney had to reshuffle his forces, and he did this resourcefully. The end product was that Paul Fitzpatrick gave an inspired performance at sweeper, and despite being further depleted by two temporary suspensions, the Dubliners took the game into extra time. Here, Alan Browne, notably, showed limitless energy, and in the last minute John Goulding fired a shot off the target - but so, too, had Kenny Morris in one of Holywood's raids.
Pembroke gave one of their more refreshing displays in winning well (3-1) at Cookstown. A telling factor was that Andy Cooke did not allow the home captain Marty Sloan any freedom, while Francis de Rosa operated confidently in his libero role.
De Rosa opened the scoring just before half-time following a short corner. Paudie Carley combined with Devon Donnelly to make it 2-0 early in the second period and de Rosa surged from the back to increase the margin.
Cookstown's only reply came through a Peter Cunningham penalty stroke.
The lone Ulster team obliged to travel, sociable Parkview, made a proud exit in a 3-2 extra-time defeat by Three Rock Rovers at Grange Road. If ever the pitch could be described as water-based, it was on Saturday. The players adept at aqua-planing were much to the fore, notably Rick Johnson in midfield for Rovers.
It was still difficult, though, to find a shallow channel for Liam Canning to scoot through. One open goal was set up for the storming skipper Robin Madeley but his torpedo went wide of the target. Furthermore, Owen Doole was playing another defiant role in the Parkiew goal and Jamie McKenzie was rivalling Johnson with his nimbleness through the waves.
Finally, there was a rush of scoring in additional time. First Madeley sent a dam-buster out of Doole's reach which seemed enough to seal the tie. Remarkably, Stephen King swished home an equaliser, but immediately Canning enjoyed a calculated diving connection to make it 2-1 before increasing the margin following a thrust by Gordon Elliott. A second goal by the dextrous King made the visitors' defeat all the more honourable.
The conditions were just as testing at Wesley College, where Robbie Ryan drove through at a relatively early stage to register the goal that put Avoca through against YMCA. Although without Turlough O Siochain, who has moved to Pembroke, YM resisted defiantly throughout, with Peter Creighton and Greg Finn to the fore in holding out against the elements in the second half. Amongst the attendance was Cees Koppelaar, who, it seems, is ready to renew his contract with the IHU as national coach.
Meanwhile, Koppelaar may have noticed a strengthening of Irish hockey outside Ulster. Cork C of I, like Pembroke, made a successful trip north, beating Antrim comfortably, with goals by Derek Hales and Alastair Dunne.
Among the all-Ulster ties, Lisnagarvey - with Terry Gregg back as coach in a consultancy capacity - were wise and robust enough to subdue Banbridge at Castlewellan Road. Mark Tumilty settled in well against his former team-mates, forcing a corner for Robbie Taylor to establish an early lead and scoring himself in the 65th minute.
While Lisnagarvey may now be fancied to recapture the trophy, holders Instonians are still standing. They, naturally, were dominant at Kilkeel, but had to go to extra time for Mark Irwin to put them into the quarter-finals. Maturing Annadale, too. may well make an impact. They got through 2-1 against Newry Olympic with goals by Chris Jackson and Gareth Crooks, while Errol Lutton notched one for the border side.