Hockey: Sloan double swings it
Men's Irish Snr Cup final
Three finals in four seasons and still no trophy to show for it. That was Monkstown's sorry tale as they lost a seven-goal thriller to Cookstown at Belfield yesterday.
Well beaten in 2008 by Pembroke Wanderers and then by Glenanne last year, they entered the 2011 decider seriously fancying their chances of ending their 97-year national title drought.
However, Cookstown, with five teenagers in their side, were two up inside six minutes through veteran Gareth Cuddy and youngster Greg Allen.
They then retreated into their shell and Monkstown pounded them relentlessly to pull level by 29 minutes, courtesy of Andy Ward's wily touch on Stephen Cole's pass, followed by a penalty corner from Andy Ewington.
They were in arrears once more by the break, as Ian Sloan beat 'keeper Davy Fitzgerald with his team's first penalty corner. He made it two from two shortly after the hour to give the eventual winners some breathing space.
And they needed every lungful as the match concluded in a welter of Monkstown pressure. When an Andy Ewington mis-hit eluded Ian Hughes in the Cookstown goal, there was still time for Monkstown to level.
Instead, the Cookstown defence masterminded by Godfrey Irwin and Ewan Butler held out.
Monkstown -- D Fitzgerald, N Dee, G Groves, G Watkins, F Lee, D Cole, F Ryan, S Cole, W McEnery, K Good, R Sykes. Subs: A Ewington, E O'Connor, B Groves, A Ward, R O'Moore.
Cookstown -- I Hughes, M Rollins, G Irwin, G Cuddy, T Hutchinson, E Butler, I Sloan, A Barbour, D Best, G Allen, T Smyth. Subs: M Crooks, R Nelson, S Smyth, P Thompson S Stewart.