BELL SECURES BANN AN IHL FINAL SPOT
Photo courtesy of the Hook Hockey
Two goals from Matthew Bell secured Bann a spot in the final of the Irish Hockey League competition. Bann beat Pembroke Wanderers 2-1 in the semi-final to set them up in the final against Monkstown which will take place today (Sunday 12th April) at 4.00pm at Three Rock Rovers.
Good luck to the boys and for anyone who can’t make it to Dublin the game will be live streamed at https://t.co/gZ19I7bWWS
Semi- Final Match report follows
Three in-a-row chasing Monkstown produced an incredible comeback against Three Rock Rovers to set up an Irish Hockey League final date with Banbridge – themselves chasing a rare quintuple – on Sunday.
Town survived a huge scare as Gareth Watkins struck twice in the 63rd minute to salvage a 4-4 draw against Three Rock Rovers before eventually prevailing in a shoot-out.
They were trailing 4-2 deep into the closing quarter before a stunning double saw them turn the tide. Town subsequently scored all four of their shoot-outs, teenager Jazze Henry scoring the pivotal one, while Rovers missed twice to send the sky-blues through.
Earlier on, Three Rock got off to a flying start as Garry Ringwood applied a delicious chipped finish over the sliding David Fitzgerald to make it 1-0 in the fifth minute.
Monkstown, though, swapped the lead by the break as Richard Sykes and Gareth Watkins netted in the second quarter to make it 2-1.
Ali Haughton equalised within moments of the start of the second half and two Joe Brennan penalty strokes pushed Rovers into a great position at 4-2 going into the final quarter.
Monkstown, though, fought back with two inside the 63rd minute. The first was from the penalty spot before he applied another beautiful lobbed finish to make it 4-4, both when Rovers were down to ten men.
No further goals accrued, leading to the shoot-out in which Monkstown produced the perfect series to see them through to the final once again.
They will meet Banbridge in the final after they beat Pembroke 2-1. Matthew Bell won the battle of the corners as he shot home two drag-flicks to see Banbridge keep alive their incredible drive for five titles.
Bell’s low slung flick in the 14th minute put Bann in front from the third penalty corner as they had the best of the opening exchanges but Pembroke produced a fine 20-minute spell to have the ascendancy either side of half-time.
Pembroke’s equalised just before three-quarter time via Harry Spain with a carbon-copy of Bell’s first goal, hitting the bottom right corner with a lot of power.
But Bann steadied their nerves and pushed on in the final quarter, winning another penalty corner. This time, Bell went high to find the net
The Co Down side have already won the Irish Senior Cup and Ulster Premier League as well as the Anderson and Kirk Cups but this will probably be their biggest ask yet at 4pm on Sunday at Grange Road in the final.
They do so safe in the knowledge that they and Banbridge have qualified for European berths for the 2015/16 by virtue of their results.
Men’s Irish Hockey League semi-final results: Banbridge 2 (M Bell 2) Pembroke 1 (H Spain); Three Rock Rovers 4 (J Brennan 2, G Ringwood, A Haughton) Monkstown 4 (G Watkins 3, R Sykes), Monkstown win 4-2 in a shoot-out
Final (Sunday): Banbridge vs Monkstown, 4pm, Grange Road