Three Rock keep rolling

by Stephen Findlater
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THE GOOD times keep on rolling for Three Rock Rovers hockey club as they landed their second and third trophies within a month, claiming both the Leinster Senior Mills Cup and the Railway Cup over the St Patrick’s weekend.

Having ended their 30-year wait for the Irish Senior Cup title, they set about breaking more hoodoos as the Mills Cup was annexed on Monday in Grange Road with a comprehensive 4-2 win over UCD.

They led from the 11th minute once Peter Blakeney had picked a low route passed former Rovers’ keeper Conor Quinn and the striker augmented the score with a neat touch to finish off a pitch-length move in 22nd minute.

Nick Burns pulled one back for the students but two further goals in the third quarter killed off the tie as Jonny Bruton tipped in Michael Maguire’s excellent run and cross. Blakeney was then felled, allowing player-coach Joe Brennan the chance to score from the penalty spot.

Burns got one back in the dying stages but it was too late to affect the final score, allowing Mitch Darling the chance to raise the Mills Cup aloft on home turf.

That ended a 17-year wait for the title though there are links between the two sides with the vastly experienced Alan Bothwell having lined out in both panels.

It came a day after the club’s second team won the Railway Cup for the first time in a decade, producing an incredible comeback to get the better of Fingal at Mount Temple.

They looked dead and buried at 3-1 down with eight minutes to go but an own goal followed by a cracking Antoine Deville volley with two minutes left forced extra time.

From there, the game advanced to penalties in which Stephen Dawson was superb, making two key saves with his pads to win it 6-5 in the shoot-out.

The win was made all the more remarkable as Three Rock’s side featured nine teenagers, showing the up and coming nature of the panel while just four members of the panel are over 24.

Early on, Fingal looked well in control as the top tier experience of Adrian Sweeney and former international David Bane helped get them 1-0 up before building a 3-1 lead midway through the second half.

Elsewhere, the club’s Under-16s were narrowly pipped to the Benny Atkinson Cup title by Monkstown 4-3 despite a pair of goals from Conor Empey while Daragh Walsh was also on the mark.

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