Hockey: Cookstown claim bonus point in IHL opener against Pembroke Wanderers

CROSS... Cookstown's Ewan Butler fires this teasing cross down the line during Saturday's IHL clash with Pembroke.INMM1014-350SR

CROSS... Cookstown's Ewan Butler fires this teasing cross down the line during Saturday's IHL clash with Pembroke.INMM1014-350SR

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There was a superb game of hockey dished up at Steelweld Park between two teams who were playing at the top of their game.

Cookstown - still smarting from the 7-3 thumping by Pembroke in the second round of the Irish Senior Cup last November - were going into the game on a three game winning run which saw them finish third in the Ulster Premier League.

ATTACK... Cookstown's Mark Crooks on the attack during Saturday's IHL clash with Pembroke.INMM1014-352SR

ATTACK... Cookstown's Mark Crooks on the attack during Saturday's IHL clash with Pembroke.INMM1014-352SR

Pembroke, on the other hand, had suffered a loss in the Irish Senior Cup final against Three Rock Rovers before going into this game.

Cookstown opened the scoring eight minutes into the second quarter with a reverse shot over the keeper from the edge of the circle by Mark Crooks.

Four minutes later Pembroke’s Conor Harte equalised from a penalty corner leaving half time score 1-1.

In the 53rd minute Pembroke extended their lead from another penalty corner this time from Alan Sothern.

Three minutes into the last quarter Sothern made it 3-1 to Pembroke again from a harshly awarded penalty corner when the Reds’ Ewan Butler looked to have made an excellent tackle.

Cookstown did score another goal through Jonny Ames from the penalty corner set piece and this was enough to give the Tyrone men a losing bonus point from their first game.

Pembroke were reduced to nine players for the last few minutes of the game when both Harte and Stuart Loughrey were given yellow cards, but Cookstown failed to take advantage and the match finished 3-2 to the visiting Dublin outfit.