Three Rock Rovers completed a truly remarkable season when Jody Hosking scored 48 seconds from full-time for the Rathfarnham club in the EY Champions Trophy final last Sunday at Grange Road.
The captain followed up Harry Morris’s effort that bounced invitingly off the post to earn a 2-1 win over Glenanne to clinch the national championship.
It added a dramatic finale to the best season in the club’s history and, perhaps, the outstanding performance from any club side in Irish hockey’s 125-year annals.
Prior to the weekend, they already had the Irish Senior Cup and National Indoor Trophy in the cabinet as well as the EuroHockey Indoor Challenge II gold from February in Georgia. With the regional Neville Cup and Mills Cup crowns also secured, it has been a remarkable campaign on all fronts.
“You can’t put it into words,” Hosking said after Sunday’s final.
“The lads have been incredible and worked hard. It comes from a big squad, the young lads coming through won us that Neville Cup and will hopefully be pushing us for first team spots in September.
“We know this is a special group and we will try and push on from this because next year will be a massive task to get anywhere near where we are now.”
To get to the final, they needed an even later goal from Luke Madeley against Lisnagarvey in the semi, scoring a penalty corner on the hooter to earn another 2-1 result.
In the final, Rovers were the side on the offensive for more of the match against a Glens side who won the EY Hockey League regular season title.
Peter Blakeney fired Rovers in front just before half-time with a powerful corner flick. Madeley pinged the post early in the second half while Glenanne were down to nine men with two players in the sin bin.
The Glens, though, are famed for their persistence and they rode out this period before countering with 10 minutes to go via Shannon Boucher’s switch move.
Rovers kept plugging away, however, and drew a wonder save from Iain Walker and had two more big chances before Morris latched onto a quickly taken free in. His shot looped onto the post but Hosking was there to gleefully take in the rebound.
“Winning is definitely a habit. I thought we played really well both days, getting lots of possession, lots of circle entries and maybe not got enough goals from that. The character of the
lads to stick with it, we knew it would go to the last minute!”
The win earns Three Rock a guaranteed ticket to the Euro Hockey League next term.