Dream Harlequins debut for Beamish

Darren Beamish enjoyed a Cork Harlequins debut to remember as he struck the only goal of the game to help the Irish Senior Cup champions see off Cookstown at a freezing Farmer’s Cross on Saturday.

Former Bandon man Beamish had initially decided to step away from hockey this year but jumped at an invite to join the Quins setup. And he found room in a crowded circle to reverse home a second-half winner in a patchy clash interrupted by a serious head injury to Cookstown’s Greg Allen, who was taken by ambulance to hospital.

It was also a memorable day for Quins’ veteran goalkeeper Nigel Bryan. With Chris Daunt now working in Sweden and talented Munster U16 Jack Ryan still considered too green for this level, Bryan donned the goalie pads for the first time in a decade and made a number of fine saves to keep his side’s title defence motoring on.

They have Banbridge at home on Saturday in the quarter-finals, a repeat of a tie won 2-1 by Quins last year. They weren’t joined in the last eight by UCC, however; the effects of five games in three days during their memorable intervarsity victory in midweek showed as they were cut apart by a clinical YMCA, who won 9-0 in Milltown.

The same could be said for UCD, who went down 4-2 to Monkstown in a cranky tie at Belfield. ’Town will host Railway Union — 7-0 winners at NICS — next up while YM will be at home again in the last eight, taking on Pembroke who claimed a memorable scalp in Ulster, ousting IHL champions Lisnagarvey on penalty strokes.

Kilkeel, 5-1 winners over Avoca, must leave their McAuley Park fortress and go to a Three Rock side buzzing from their topsy-turvy 6-5 win at Instonians, which owed a lot to Peter Blakeney’s four goals, including a four-minute hat-trick.

Railway Union made the biggest statement in the women’s Electric Ireland Irish Senior Cup first round ties, hammering Cork Harlequins 6-0 on Leeside in what coach Mick McKinnon described as the Park Avenue girls’ best performance of the season to date. Loreto were pushed all the way by Queens’ University before prevailing 2-1 in a repeat of last year’s semi-final.

Meanwhile, Emma Dobson starred on her Ashton debut, the former Cork C of I starlet helping her father Alan’s side to a 3-1 Munster league success over Bandon. Catholic Institute had little trouble winning the Treaty city derby with Limerick 10-0, while a brace from Wexford native Steffi Bowe’s double backboned UCC’s 5-0 win over varsity rivals UL.

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