Madeley magic as TRR add fifth title to super season

by Stephen Findlater
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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 set piece 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.

It might have been more comfortable but for Mark Ingram producing a series of good saves between the posts that kept them in the game.

Alternatively, though, the Dublin 4 side will rue a disallowed goal to make it 3-3 when Alan Sothern’s ball across looked set to dribble over the line until Tim Hill tipped in with his back-stick.

It was a pivotal moment. Six minutes later, Rovers got the game-breaking goal when John Mullins deflected in another corner to put them out of range.

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.

Pembroke got back level from their second corner via Sothern’s low drag-flick.

That made it 2-2 at half-time 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 at close quarters as Pembroke hung in the contest and should have had their leveller in the 53rd minute but for the rogue backstick.

Rovers took the reprieve with open arms with Mullins deflecting in their seventh corner from Jody Hosking’s slap. A trio of chances to make it safer were spurned, Ingram sliding out to block Ben Walker one-on-one and intercepting a Daragh Walsh cross key.

When he departed for an extra outfielder, Ross Canning clipped in the fifth into an open net 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.

“Kicking on from the Euro Hockey League, 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.”

Looking back on the weekend, coach Niall Denham added: “The two scorelines probably don’t reflect the full balance of play but you have to be happy when you score 10 goals in a weekend. We probably rode our luck a little against Glenanne in the second half after a good first half display.

“I think we were in a little bit more control today. We are in a good place, the squad is fit and playing well and all we can do is qualify for the final four and then focus on trying to retain the national title. The confidence we take from this can only stand us in good stead.

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