Hockey: Ward delivers for Monkstown to extinguish Ulster hopes of ending drought
Ulster interest in the competition was extinguished at the weekend as Annadale lost 3-2 to Monkstown in an extra-time thriller.
'Town progressed thanks to a golden goal from Andy Ward and they will play Glenanne in the decider next month. The Glens beat Three Rock Rovers 2-0 with goals in either half, from Gary Shaw and Stephen Butler, at Grange Road.
Monkstown's dogged progress through this season's competition has not been smooth and against Annadale they experienced extra-time for the fourth time.
They were never ahead during the 70 minutes at Rathdown, twice equalising, through Andy Ward and Ian Allen, after Annadale's Neil Hamilton had powered drag flicks past 'keeper Davy Fitzgerald.
During the seven minutes of extra-time, they at last figured out how to cope with Hamilton, defender Eoin O'Connor charging down the hat-trick attempt.
Then Kiwi Andy Ewington cracked a shot against the bar at the other end before Ward was given the space to slot the winner.
Annadale's defeat means that Ulster hands have not lifted the cup for five years, since Lisnagarvey took it in 2005. The northern sides won eight out of 10 in the 1990s and 10 out of 10 in the '80s but the new millennium has yielded lean times.