Bandon and C of I clinch Trophy final spots

Bandon and Cork Church of Ireland brought Munster’s national cup final representation to four with stunning Irish Hockey Trophy semi-final wins on Saturday.

Irish-capped forward Alastair Smith bagged a treble for Bandon in their 3-1 defeat of Clontarf in west Cork, setting up a date with either holders Portadown or Newry, whose game was postponed due to a bereavement.

Cork C of I’s women spread the goals around as they cruised to a 5-0 win at NUIG in their semi-final, Sinead James, Ali O’Regan, Amy Roberts, Pam Wolfe and Emma Rumley all on target. North Down will be their final opponents.

There was less good fortune in the Irish Junior Cup, with the men and women of Pembroke Wanderers escaping Cork Harlequins with semi-final victories. The men won 5-0, with the women prevailing on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

Elsewhere, all four of the women’s Irish Hockey League semi-finalists were confirmed a week early, highlighting the dominant nature of some of the country’s big hitters.

In Pool A, Railway Union smashed Greenfields 6-0 to while UCD didn’t have things their own way against lowly Lurgan, winning 3-1. Both have made the last four but their clash next week will decide who tops the pool, with both on 16 points after four rounds. Catholic Institute’s miserable recent few weeks at the hands of Leinster sides continued with a 5-0 reverse at Hermes.

Pegasus and Loreto are through in Pool B after seeing off Ards (2-1) and Ballymoney (2-0) respectively and again meet in round five with Pegs holding a two-point advantage. Cork Harlequins are best-placed to finish third in that pool after a notable 2-1 win at Old Alex, Leanne Mullins and Cliodhna Sargent getting the goals.

Monkstown became the first side through to the last four of the men’s IHL as they eased to a 9-3 win at Corinthian in Pool B. Cork C of I held all the possession but UCD held all the counter-attacking aces as Ross Canning and Shane O’Donoghue guided them to a 2-0 win at Belfield.

Lisnagarvey’s excellent 3-1 win over Three Rock Rovers and Cookstown’s 5-2 win over Instonians makes Pool A the one to watch in week five, with four teams in contention for a semi-final spot.

Pembroke saw off basement side Cork Harlequins 5-2, building a 5-0 lead including one from Conor Harte against his childhood club, before Dan and John Hobbs got a couple back, to hold the aces with a three-point lead over ’Garvey, while Rovers are a further point behind with Cookstown in the mix too.

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