Catholic Institute made up for the heartbreak of their Munster Senior Cup final defeat in midweek to claim the Irish Hockey Trophy with a 3-1 win over Greenfields yesterday.
Having lost three finals in two seasons — including the decider of this competition last year — Ger O’Carroll’s side will be delighted to finally get their hands on some silverware in their centenary year.
Goals from their first two short corners, courtesy of Elaine Bromell’s straight hit and Rebecca Barry’s deflection, had them in control, before the influential Bromell departed with a knee injury on 20 minutes.
Brenda Flannery pulled one back from the penalty spot for the Galway side just before the break, while Institute had to ride the sin-binning of Edel Higgins too.
But Katie Campbell squeezed the ball home from an impossible angle for an insurance goal and an ultimately comfortable victory.
That ended the weekend on a positive note for Munster hockey, after Fermoy’s women and the men of Limerick had lost in national finals 24 hours earlier.
Fermoy heartbreakingly went down 2-0 to YMCA in the final of the Irish Challenge, having lost to the same side on penalty strokes in last year’s decider.
YM got off to the perfect start, Tara Powderly breaking the deadlock after eight minutes, latching onto a 40 metre ball from Dawn Allison to hit home first time from a tight angle.
The north Cork girls had the best of things thereafter, but couldn’t convert pressure into scores, and Helen Keane confirmed the title’s place back in Sandymount with 20 minutes to go from the penalty spot after Fiona McCormick had been taken down in the circle.
Matt Hutton’s golden goal gave St Brendan’s a 2-1 victory over a stubborn Limerick outfit, who had equalised at the death in normal time through a stunning Robbie Ryan upright reverse after Hutton had put Brendan’s in front.
Domestically, Cork Church of Ireland took a giant step towards retaining their men’s Munster Senior League title by routing Cork Harlequins 4-1 at Farmer’s Cross.
Quins won seven corners to C of I’s one, but couldn’t find a way past in-form keeper Billy Lynch.
Alec Moffett’s brace, bookended deflections by Nick Burns and Ben Dobson, killed the game off, before Rob Hobbs plundered a Quins consolation goal.
Bandon came from behind to defeat UCC 3-2, killing off the students’ faint hopes of an Irish Hockey League wildcard playoff place in the process.
Graham Kingston opened the scoring for Bandon, only for College’s Roger Gray to ride five tackles and square for Phil Sweetnam to tap in.
Sweetnam then turned provider for his namesake Stephen to put College 2-1 up, but Scott Sullivan’s drive restored parity.
And Bandon grabbed a fortuitious winner in the dying minutes, as Andy Scannell’s cross-shot was inadvertently deflected into his own goal by College skipper Andy Gray.
The west Cork men still have to face Quins and C of I, games which will effectively decide the order of the top three.
The women’s league remains a four-horse race, with UCC still top by virtue of a 7-1 rout of UL, with Nicky Kingston and Vicky O’Sullivan bagging doubles.
But Quins — who must still play the Cork students twice — are breathing down their necks, after Karen Bateman and Sinead McCarthy gave them a 2-0 home win over C of I. Bandon rubber-stamped fifth place with a 2-0 win at Ashton, thanks to strikes from in-form Clare O’Higgins and Pamela Forde.
Some great work from the Irish Hockey Photographers this weekend; to view Adrian Boehm’s pics from Institute vs Greenfields, click here. For Ondine Roche’s set from Fermoy vs YMCA, click here, and for Deryck Vincent’s photos from Limerick vs St Brendan’s, click here.