For the second year running Performa Sports was delighted to support Hockey Ireland and the competing clubs at the 2019 EYHL Champions Trophy Finals played at Banbridge Hockey Club. Performa Sports was on hand to provide tagged footage and statistics to all the teams competing for the illustrious title. On the women’s side was Cork Harlequins, UCD, Loreto and Pegasus hockey clubs. For the Men Glenanne, Lisnagarvey, Banbridge and Three Rock Rovers would be the clubs battling it out.
Having set up early on Saturday morning we awaited the first semi-final clash between Cork Harlequins and Pegasus. Havelock Park looked incredible and starting to fill up the first game. The first half saw both sides trade attacks with neither team finding the key to unlock well marshalled defences. It wasn’t until the second half that Pegasus eventually got the break through, Lucy McKee sweeping the ball home from close range. Despite Pegasus being largely in control, Cork Harlequins quickly replied when Julia O’Halloran reacted fastest to throw herself at the ball and finish on the volley. Again, Pegasus pushed for the winner and it eventually told as Quins, now down to 10 couldn’t stop Taite Docherty from making inroads via the baseline, her cross looping across goal and somehow finding its way into the goal, via a deflection. Final score, 2-1 to Pegasus who would advance to play the winners of the following game.
And what a following game, an all Dublin encounter was on the cards, with last year's winners Loreto taking on the students of UCD. In a similar vein to the first game both teams slowly built momentum as the first half wore on. It wasn’t until late in the second quarter that Loreto eventually made the breakthrough with Caitlin Sherin slotting home following an initial save by the UCD goalkeeper.
Loreto’s second came in the final quarter from a short corner seemingly deceiving everyone to find its way into the goal. UCD though would not lie down and pushed back immediately with a penalty corner of their own, unable to score from the initial strike, Niamh Carey reacted quickest to finish from close range. As the hooter sounded, a final penalty corner was awarded the UCD. With a goal required to take the game to a penalty shootout Loreto goalkeeper Liz Murphy was in no mood for further drama as she parried the ball to safety to see her team advance to Sunday’s final having held out to win 2-1.
Up first in the men’s semi-finals was EYHL league winners Lisnagarvey who would take on Glenanne HC. Lisnagarvey fresh off the back of their league success started the slower with Glenanne piling on the pressure but unable to make the men from Comber Road pay. Eventually in the 2nd quarter Lisnagarvey made Glenanne pay for their lack of ruthlessness with ‘Garvey forward, Matthew Nelson, scoring from his own rebound. From there Glenanne found themselves pushing more and more men forward and despite creating numerous chances, time and time again Garvey stood firm in defence and were able to hit Glenanne on the counter - eventually racking up a 6-0 scoreline. One which did not necessarily reflect the ebb and flow of the game but certainly highlighted Lisnagarvey’s clinical ability in the circle.
The last semi-final of the day saw hosts Banbridge take on the winners of the last two competitions, Three Rock Rovers. Three Rock started in typical fashion fashioning several chances through their free flowing and fluid attacks. Banbridge held strong until late in the 2nd quarter when Irish International, Luke Madeley fired home a penalty corner. The 3rd quarter saw the Bann men step up their intensity as the tie became a more fiery encounter. Bann were rewarded for their efforts when club stalwart Eugene Magee sent a penalty corner drag flick towards the goal and somehow it made its way over the line. Not long after another fluid Three Rock attack, Mitch Darling restored the lead for the Dublin men. Bann went close on a number of occasions, including a goal bound reverse stick effort that struck a Rovers defender in the face in his attempt to stop it finding the net. This stoppage in the game seemed to give Three Rock time to re-group and not long after Madeley, this time from open play, scored his second and his team’s third to make things more comfortable. Shortly after a fourth followed from Ross Canning and despite a late Bann resurgence to make the game 4-2, that’s how it finished and Three Rock progressed through to set up a Sunday final against Lisnagarvey.
Onto Sunday and the first of the finals would see EYHL League winners Pegasus take on last years Champions Trophy winners Loreto. Loreto started the game on the front foot and carved out a number of chances throughout the first half and between skill and fortune Pegasus went into the break on level terms with the game scoreless. The second half picked up where the first left off with Loreto on the attack, however they continually found the Pegs defensive line in stern form with Shirley McCay, Pam Glass, Steph Thompson, Grace Irwin and Megan Todd all in inspired form. With the game in the closing 5 minutes Loreto finally made their breakthrough, Siofra O’Brien firing low into the bottom corner from a reverse stick effort. That should have been the nail in the coffin for Pegasus but instead it only served to buoy them, first a goal bound Alex Speers effort was surprisingly deemed dangerous as claims for penalty stroke or at the very least a penalty corner fell on deaf ears. Then with seconds on the clock Pegasus won a penalty corner, a quality routine saw McCay send an effort toward the goal with Speers providing a deflection to take it into the net. The full time hooter quickly followed and a penalty shoot out loomed. Pegasus, despite missing their first attempt regained control with Megan Todd. Taite Docherty was the hero as she slotted home the winning penalty to send her team into raptures.
Late in the afternoon the men’s final took centre stage. As with the ladies final, Lisnagarvey this years EYHL league winners would take on last years EYHL Champions Trophy winners Three Rock Rovers. The game started brightly with Rovers’ Jamie Carr the busier of the two goalkeepers. Late in the 2nd quarter, it was that man Luke Madeley again who would break the deadlock, his corner rifling inside the left post. Garvey pushed and pushed for a response but could not find their killer instinct from the previous day. The hammer blow from Three Rock came in the final quarter when Ben Walker broke free on the 25, the ball eventually fell to John Mullins who chopped home on the volley from mid way inside the D. Rovers managed to see out the tie and take home the EYHL Champions Trophy for a 3rd successive season.
Overall a great weekend of hockey and one that Performa Sports are proud to support. If you are interested in looking at performance analysis for your hockey team please visit our website HERE or email firstname.lastname@example.org