Hockey: Sykes seals title for Monkstown
Two goals from Richard Sykes ensured Monkstown retained their Irish Hockey League title with a 2-1 victory in yesterday's final at Grange Road against Banbridge.
Banbridge put in a spirited bid for the league and cup double, but were behind on four minutes when Sykes sent a drag flick an inch under Gareth Lennox's bar.
Sykes later hit a post but the score was unchanged until the interval, though Stevie Dowds went close to equalising. Instead, Jamie Wright, the man who hit the cup winner two weeks ago, produced the leveller seven minutes into the second half, from a Dowds cross. Into the final quarter, Sykes beat Lennox once more at the decisive penalty corner to give Monkstown their third championship on the trot.
The result was the only defeat of a remarkable season for Banbridge, who mopped up in Ulster as well as capturing the Irish Senior Cup.
The IHL will now become a regular national league in 2015/6 with a full season of fixtures, rather than the seven-match schedule Monkstown needed this term to retain their crown. Railway Union booked the last place on offer in the new-look competition when they beat UCC 7-3 yesterday in a play-off on the back pitch at Grange Road.