Comeback heroines Cork C of I land trophy

Cork C of I’s women dug deep to grab the women’s Irish Hockey Trophy title with a spectacular second-half comeback, rising from 2-0 down to beat Galway’s Greenfields 4-2.

In the semis, they had also trailed deep into the tie before snatching a late 2-1 win, a position captain Nicola Kerr joked is becoming an unwanted habit.

“It’s not a great trait to go down early on but we always will come back out fighting all the time,” Kerr said afterwards. “When we do, we are unstoppable!

“We just seem to like putting ourselves under pressure before we start playing our best hockey. We did it again today. We were slow off the mark and they caught us on the hop. But we couldn’t leave without the trophy; we knew it was ours for the taking.”

In truth, had they lost, it would have been a travesty. Even before Alacoque McGovern gave Greenfields a fourth minutes lead, C of I had four penalty corner chances and they would run up 13 set pieces over the course of the tie.

Hollie Moffett hit the bar and they also clattered the post but contrived to go 2-0 down on the 20 minute mark when Meabh Holden followed up from one of just three circle entries for Greenfields.

C of I eventually began to tick in the second half when Hannah Honner poked home at close quarters. After an array of set-piece switches, Kay Gaffney smashed home a direct corner shot for 2-2 and Honner then put the Garryduff club in front with a neat deflection.

Greenfields did have one shot of note in the second half, a real nerve-jangler that cracked the bar with four minutes to go. Kirsty Coombes, though, made the game safe with a mazy run and cool finish at the death.

For coach Graham Catchpole, he said his side “just needed to cop on” in the second half and he knew they would be in good shape.

We needed to show a little bit of direction. We were holding on to the ball a bit much, running into contact too much and move the ball faster and we saw that in the second half. When we did that around the back, we were that bit stronger.

Waterford, meanwhile, won the men’s equivalent title on Sunday as Ben Johnson’s brilliant all-round performance saw them win the Irish Hockey Trophy, a first national crown since their 1922 Irish Senior Cup success. Johnson scored twice in the first half against NICS either side of Harry McCarthy — the other of their Irish Under-21 duo — scoring a beautiful tomahawk shot for a 3-0 half-time lead.

David Whittington got one back with 12 minutes to go but Waterford held on for a famous result.

Such is the youth contingent in their side, player-coach David Quinn joked afterwards “we will have to fill the cup with coke”.

Limerick missed out on the Irish Hockey Challenge 4-3 at the hands of reigning champions Ballynahinch despite two glorious first half goals from Victor Biais.

That had them level at 2-2 but Willie Edgar’s double in the second half, won the day.

Clonmel fell to a single Chelsey Whan effort in the women’s Challenge final, losing 1-0 to Dromore.

In the men’s EY Hockey League, meanwhile, Cork C of I moved off the bottom without touching a ball. Three Rock Rovers thrashed Cookstown 8-2, dropping the Tyrone side below them on goal difference with one game to go in a fortnight’s time.

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