Annadale secure IHL place

By Staff Reporter
Lisnagarvey 2 -- Annadale 4

Annadale went into the last week of the season with a triple header, which would decide whether they automatically qualified for next season’s All-Ireland League.

To make things even more difficult, the three games were against the three teams above them in the league – Lisnagarvey, Cookstown and Banbridge.

First up was the team sitting at the top, Lisnagarvey.

If they won what was their last game, no one else could catch them and they would retain their league title.

The Ulster Branch had arrived in force and brought the Keightley Cup with them anticipating a presentation. Annadale had other ideas.

The first quarter of the game saw Lisnagarvey dominate but from a counter attack Peter Caruth picked out Fraser Mills at the back post to open the scoring.

Annadale picked up the tempo and went further ahead when Andrew Williamson took advantage of a defensive mix up and chipped the keeper to make it 2-0.

The second half had barely started, when Michael Robson set Williamson up for his second and his team’s third.

Minutes later Richard Maybin could have finished the game off but struck the post.

Lisnagarvey got a breakthrough when Greg Thompson finally got one of his drag flicks on target.

Right from the restart, Mark Raphael was allowed to race up field and claim a second for his team.

Annadale were rocking, but goalkeeper Johnny Moore was keeping them in the hunt, as Lisnagarvey forced a further four penalty corners.

As they piled forward, they were left exposed at the back and Peter Caruth and Fraser Mills took advantage, with Mills getting the final touch to make it 4-2 and game over.

 

Cookstown             7

Annadale            1

 

Cookstown needed to win their two remaining games to topple Lisnagarvey and Annadale travelled to play them next. Fraser Mills was injured, so took no part and other players were jaded after their effort four days earlier.

The task was going to be hard enough without gifting the Tyrone men three goals in the first 15 minutes.

Ian Sloan picked up two and Gareth Cuddy got one as they punished Annadale for schoolboy errors.

Annadale totally lost their shape, which left the half time score 5-0.

Annadale pulled one back after the restart when William Edgar slipped Matthew Allister through for a consolation 5-1.

Cookstown grabbed another two from late penalty corners to leave the final score 7-1.

 

Banbridge             2

Annadale             3

Instonians defeated Kilkeel the following night, to temporarily take the last of the four All-Ireland slots and Annadale had a trip to Banbridge, where they needed a win to knock them back to fifth.

Fraser Mills put Peter Caruth through in the first minute and he blasted his shot under Gareth Lennox to give Annadale a shock lead.

From the next attack Caruth returned the favour, setting up Mills who rounded Lennox, but his shot struck the post.

Johnny Moore, in the Annadale net, pulled off a terrific save from Scott Caruth and from the counter attack William Edgar set Caruth on his way and he picked out Mills again to make it 0-2. Five minutes later Matthew Allister punched a hole in the defence and crossed the ball for Richard Maybin to slap in at the back post.

The expected backlash came right from the re-start. A mixture of great saves form Johnny Moore and the absence of Banbridge’s usual drag flicker, Ross McCandless meant Annadale held out.

Annadale defended well, but it was from another penalty corner that Bann pulled a goal back. Stephen Dowds finding the bottom corner to make it 1-3. Banbridge managed another, right on the final whistle from another penalty corner when Scott Forbes slotted home a rebound. Annadale had secured that fourth slot with a magnificent six points from the top three teams.

Annadale finished fourth in the league and gain an automatic place in next season’s Irish Hockey League.

 

Junior League 1

Mossley II 4 – 2 Annadale II

(Andrew Kelly, Phil Crawford)

 

Junior League 2

Lisnagarvey IV 2 – 2 Annadale III

(David Kerr, Mark Price)

 

Junior League 4

Kilkeel III 3 – 1 Annadale V

(Gary Dempster)

 

There are no fixtures this weekend due to the Easter break.

Meanwhile the women’s European Hockey Club Champion Trophy takes place at Queen’s this weekend from 6-9 April. Pegasus represent Ireland in Pool B.

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