Lisnagarvey were one of the competition favourites, with C of I unfancied having taken a couple of hammerings in the Irish Hockey League. But David Hobbs’ men took charge early on with Alec Moffett bagging a fine brace. But that advantage was wiped out by Timmy Cockram and Jonny Bell. Philip Bronwlow’s tap-in restored C of I’s lead and although Andy Forrest levelled again for Garvey, John Jermyn stepped up to drag home a penalty corner for the Leesiders with 60 seconds remaining.
Richard Sweetnam then kept out a last-gap Garvey corner — one of seven C of I defended with goalkeeper Billy Lynch in fantastic form — to secure a place at the finals weekend on March 28 in UCD.
There they will face Railway Union, Pembroke Wanderers or favourites Banbridge, for whom Stevie Dowds looks set to break goalscoring records after remarkably netting his 50th of the season this weekend.
Domestically, UCC were left kicking themselves after twice throwing away final-quarter leads in a tetchy 3-3 draw at Cork Harlequins. Julian Dale’s early goal had Quins in front until UCC skipper Fionn O’Leary set up David Doherty for a lovely second-half equaliser before scoring a fine reverse-stick strike. Mark Black levelled for Quins with an outrageous lobbed finish from the endline, but defender John Catchpole popped up to score a rare goal and seemingly win it for College. However, Dale was on hand to chip in a last-gasp equaliser.
Nathan Eacrett and Cathal Duggan got Limerick off to a winning start in the newly-formed Division 1B with a 2-1 success over Galway while Catholic Institute saw off Quins B 3-1. An out-of-sorts Ashton endured a 10-1 home defeat to Cork C of I B, who had five of the side involved in their ISC victory in fine form.
In the women’s Munster Senior Cup, Catholic Institute required penalty strokes to edge past Bandon after a 2-2 stalemate in Limerick, with Steph Peters and Ingrid Burns cancelling out strikes by Aebfhinn Bourke and Ciara Moloney for the hosts.A much-improved Fermoy had plenty of possession against Ashton but the visitors’ superior short corner unit won the day 2-0 — Michelle Barry and Lorna McCutcheon the scorers.