Cork Harlequins 0 Cookstown 5
HARLEQUINS settled the quicker and completely bossed the first quarter as Cookstown found the lifeless pitch hard to deal with. Ian Hughes had to be alert on a couple of occasions as Quins looked to capitalise on their superiority.
The Reds weathered this early storm and eventually got some ball possession and had a few circle penetration which were fruitless. The first quarter ended scoreless but Cookstown had started to look dangerous as the team settled to the pace of the pitch.
The second quarter was the period of the game that won the match for The Reds.
A Stephen Sloan crash ball into the circle was mis-controlled by a home defender and Greg Allen pounced. His initial effort was saved by the keeper and as the rebound came back to him Greg scored with a tennis style smash to put Cookstown ahead.
Harlequins reacted by winning their only penalty corner of the game but Hughes saved to ease the travelling supporters nerves. In their next attack an over-lapping Matthew Rollins worked his way along the bye-line before finding Timmy Smyth who beat the keeper from close range to increase Cookstown’s lead.
Before the half-time break the Reds had sealed the game as they went further ahead. A Gareth Cuddy shot was saved by the keeper but Ian Sloan was first to react and scored with a one handed reverse sweep over the prone keeper.
Into the third quarter and Quins had to take risks and push men forward. They almost opened their account when a Paul Lombard snap shot whistled past Hughes’ post. Midway through the quarter and Cookstown almost went further ahead when Gareth Cuddy found Smyth whose reverse shot was saved.
The defence of Butler and Best with Black and Thompson attacking down both flanks, were all having a good game and had very few problems from the Quins forward line. The midfield of Ian and Stephen Sloan, aided and abetted by the ageless Andy Barbour, kept prompting the forwards as more chances were created.
David Best found Matthew Rollins deep in the right corner and his slap hit cross found Allen unmarked on the penalty spot. Allen controlled, a drop of the shoulder which the keeper bought, and a cool flick finish into the opposite corner put Cookstown four up.
At this stage Harlequins had all but given up the ghost and Hughes was rarely troubled. Raymond Millar and Ryan Miller were both involved in good attacking moves as Cookstown tried to finish on a flourish,
Into the final quarter and Cookstown were happy to retain possession as they looked to seal a bonus point win. Allen won their first and only penalty corner of the game and Ian Sloan netted with a trademark drag to leave the final score 0- 5.
A job well done by the squad and an extra bonus point which sees Cookstown sitting in pole position in the group.
Their final group game see The Reds as visitors at Instonians next Saturday with a 4pm start. If the Reds get through that game unbeaten they will have qualified for the IHL play-offs in early May.