Three Rock Rovers 5-2 Pembroke
Three Rock Rovers’ penalty-corner machine saw them land the Irish Senior Cup for the 11th time as Luke Madeley struck three times from the setpiece to see off Pembroke 5-2 at Belfield.
It backed up their 5-1 Saturday win against Glenanne in the semi-final, making it their fifth trophy of the campaign already, adding to Mills Cup, Neville Cup, National Indoor Trophy and EuroHockey Challenge II crowns.
In truth, it might have been more but for Mark Ingram producing a wealth of good saves between the posts for Pembroke that kept them in the game until the closing 10 minutes.
His first stops came inside 20 seconds, repelling Kevin Mullins and Mitch Darling first off while Harry Morris had a lot of the goal to aim at but slapped off course from a Mitch Darling pull-back.
As it was, Rovers went in front in the 14th minute with Madeley shooting home the first corner at the second attempt. Three minutes later, he went direct to make it 2-0 and there was a danger of them running away with the game.
But, in Kirk Shimmins, Pembroke have a midfield machine capable of serious inspiration and he produced a glorious run down the left wing before flicking into the top corner from a near impossible angle.
During this phase, tackles flew in with a healthy dose of a physical edge and a series of green cards. Pembroke got back level from their second corner via Alan Sothern’s low drag-flick.
That made it 2-2 at half-time with the game in the balance but Three Rock returned to the front within two minutes. Again, it was a corner with Madeley going down the stick side for 3-2 and his hat trick.
Ingram made a stunning low save from Kevin Mullins as Pembroke hung in the contest and almost got a sucker-punch when Sothern got to the baseline and slipped into the net. It was initially awarded as a goal but a consultation between umpires saw it over-turned due to a backstick.
Rovers took the reprieve with open arms with John Mullins deflecting in their seventh corner. Ross Canning clipped in the fifth into an open net with Ingram withdrawn for an extra outfielder and Rovers had the title wrapped up.
Winning capatin Jody Hosking said afterwards: "It was very close. We started really well, took a bit of momentum from the semi-final where we finished on a high. Credit to Pembroke who fought really hard and came back into it; 2-2 at half-time and it was anyone’s game."
It came a week on from the Euro Hockey League where Rovers were disappointed not to nick a place in the KO8, something that Hosking said was playing on his side’s mindss.
"Kicking on from the EHL, the lads were disappointed not to get a result there so it was nice to do this for our supporters. They deserve this; we had close to 200 people travelling with us [to Rotterdam] and results didn’t go the way we wanted so it was nice to bounce back and give them a trophy."
Three Rock Rovers: J Carr, D Kane, R Nair, J Mullins, M Darling, B Walker, L Madeley, D Walsh, K Mullins, J Hosking, M Samuel
Subs: C Empey, R Canning, H Morris, R Pautz, H MacMahon, B McCrea, C Quinn
Pembroke: M Ingram, K O’Hare, K Shimmins, S Sweetnam, K Crawford, J Ryan, A Sothern, N Burns, C Mushiete, R Sweetnam, R Flannery
Subs: R Lynch, P Shanahan, T Hill, M Treacy, S Sullivan, W Brownlow, S Thornton
Umpires: R Donaldson, K Cholewa