Grays grab all three goals as UCC garner first Irish title

Brothers Andrew and Roger Gray once again saved their best for Belfield as UCC won their first ever national senior club title in men’s hockey with a rousing 3-1 Irish Hockey Trophy final victory over Raphoe yesterday.

In 2009, Andrew’s hat-trick helped Cork Church of Ireland stun Pembroke Wanderers 5-1 in an Irish Junior Cup final at the UCD venue. And the College captain nailed drag-flicks at the start of each half here to send the students on their way.

Belfield has also been a happy hunting ground for younger sibling Roger. A member of the C of I side in 2009, he also scored the goals to give Cork IT their first inter-varsity title there in 2010 and hit a cracker from play yesterday, after being played in by Cian Kavanagh, to seal victory.

While the Gray brothers took the goalscoring plaudits, UCC also had goalkeeper Kieran Healy to thank for a string of superb saves to keep their goal intact until the Donegal outfit scored from a penalty stroke late on. It also served as redemption for Neil Welch’s side, having lost last year’s final 2-1 to South Antrim.

Elsewhere, Galway side Greenfields claimed the women’s IHT title after Neasa McGettigan’s short corner bullet gave them a 1-0 win over Omagh.

Cork Harlequins spoiled Cork Church of Ireland’s celebration of 100 years of men’s hockey at the Garryduff club, as the Farmer’s Cross side claimed a shock 2-1 Munster Senior Cup final victory.

David Eakins’ golden goal drag-flick four minutes from the end of extra-time completed a smash and grab raid by underdogs Quins, who led through Brian Hayes Curtin only for John Jermyn to level it with a trademark drag-flick.

C of I had more of the ball and won the corner count 5-3 but Irish international hitman Jermyn found Chris Daunt in superb form between the sticks for Quins.

Catholic Institute completed a double-double by edging out Cork Harlequins 2-1 in a high-quality women’s Munster Senior Cup final.

Eimear Cregan’s calmness in the circle proved the difference as she twice had the presence of mind to round Quins’ netminder Vanessa Sargent to nick vital goals for Insta, who have found Quins to be their sole realistic rival in Munster this term.

The Cork outfit, for whom Karen Bateman excelled, showed their fighting qualities when pulling level through Andrea Bickerdike.

The defensive bravery of Yvonne O’Byrne and Cliodhna Sargent saved three certain goals to keep Quins in it while Bateman dinged the post at the other end, but it was Insta’s day once again as they wrapped up a league and cup double for the second consecutive season.

The Munster Senior Plate was won by UCC after they saw off Cork Church of Ireland 3-1 with goals from Steffi Bowe, Ali O’Regan and Emily O’Leary, while Amy Roberts replied for C of I.

Meanwhile, Monkstown endured a weekend to forget after they were pipped to two trophies in heart-wrenching fashion. The Dun Laoghaire outfit needed just a draw from Saturday’s final Leinster league encounter with Glenanne to claim a first title in 30 years.

But the Tallaght side eked out a 3-1 win at Rathdown to retain their title, a sixth for them since 2000 and all the more remarkable given they have done so without a recognised drag-flicker.

Monkstown had a chance to atone for the league let-down as they faced down Pembroke in the Mills Cup final 24 hours later, only to be undone on penalty strokes.

They rallied brilliantly from 2-0 down to lead 3-2 before being pegged back again to force extra-time, but Pembroke claimed a 5-4 victory on strokes when David Williamson somehow saved Andrew Ward’s sudden-death effort with his face.

Railway Union were held to a 2-2 draw by Hermes which handed UCD the women’s Leinster league by virtue of winning more games, after they finished level on points with Railway.

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