Three Rock Rovers 2 (P Blakeney, J Hosking) Glenanne 1 (S Boucher)
Jody Hosking scored a dramatic winner 48 seconds from time to see Three Rock Rovers retain the EY Champions Trophy title at Grange Road in front of their home support, capping an incredible season for the Rathfarnham club.
The captain was on hand to poke home a dramatic last-gasp effort, following up after Harry Morris’s first up effort had come back off the post. It was their second successive last minute winner of the weekend, earning their final spot with a 2-1 win over Lisnagarvey in the very last play.
This final was filled with blood and thunder with both sides stretching every sinew for success, sometimes beyond the limits as both David Keogh and John Mullins played through the pain barrier.
Glenanne had the first opening in a high octane start with Gary Shaw slapping at Jamie Carr with the save going dangerous to lead to a penalty corner. Shane O’Donoghue’s radar was just off course.
From there, though, Rovers came back to have most of the first half’s play and began to get off some shots with Hosking seeing one tipped away by Iain Walker while Richard Pautz shot over.
And they got a second corner just before half-time which Peter Blakeney dragged home for 1-0 and the advantage.
Their next corner went close, too, in the second half when Luke Madeley fired a drag onto the base of the post. Indeed, Rovers did not make full use of two extra men when Glenanne were guilty of fielding an extra man, leading to captain Shane O’Donoghue taking a yellow card but they could not make full use of a couple of overlaps.
Glenanne hung on, though, and they were awarded a corner when Madeley slowed a Glenanne attack by pushing the ball away from a free. On a spin move, Shannon Boucher fired a rocket to the net and it was back level.
Three Rock, though, reacted well to win a corner which Walker did brilliantly to deny Blakeney a second. Another came with 80 seconds left on the clock when Iain Walker tripped his namesake Ben from Rovers. Madeley’s first up drag was saved on the line by Rowland Rixon-Fuller but they did not reorganise in time as the long corner was poked goalward by Morris.
It hit the post into the gleeful path of Hosking who tapped in and celebrated in spectacular style before closing out the last seconds for victory.
“To be honest, I was off to celebrate as I thought Harry’s shot was going in!” Hosking said of his goal. “I was just lucky to be in the right place at the right time and is just looped into the corner.”
“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!”
It was their sixth title in all competitions, adding to the Irish Senior Cup and the National Indoor Trophy as well as the Neville Cup, the Mills Cup and the EuroHockey Club Challenge II this season.
It ensures they will go back to Europe next season as national champions in both outdoor and indoor.
“You can’t put it into words. 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. 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.”
Mike McKerr, Country Managing Partner, EY Ireland commented “Congratulations to Three Rock Rovers for winning the EY Champions Cup. The club continues to go from strength to strength and is a real example of a highest performing team in action. As a firm, EY is extremely proud of our continued sponsorship of Irish hockey. When it comes to leadership, teaming and developing winning strategies, there is a great deal to learn from professional sports people.”
Congratulations to Iain Walker who was named Male GK of the tournament.
Three Rock Rovers: J Carr, R Nair, L Madeley, D Kane, C Empey, J Mullins, R Canning, M Darling, B Walker, D Walsh, K Mullins, H Morris, J Hosking, R Pautz, M Samuel, B McCrea, C Quinn
Glenanne: I Walker, D Keogh, N Byrne, R Couse, E O’Malley, S Boucher, J Brennan, S Brownlow, S O’Donoghue, G Shaw, S O’Connor, R Rixon-Fuller, R Shaw, G Gibney, A Clayton, J Rogan, J Murtagh