Hockey: Cookstown U11 are Ulster champions

The Cookstown Hockey Club Under 11s who were crowned Ulster Champions
The Cookstown Hockey Club Under 11s who were crowned Ulster Champions

Cookstown HCU11, coached by Mark Crooks and Mark Wilson, travelled to Campbell College to play in the U11 championships on Sunday.

With 25 teams competing, this was the major event in the U11 calendar.

They started their campaign well with convincing wins over South Antrim, Lisnagarvey C and North Down.

With the weather deteriorating rapidly, the boys then had to play Banbridge B.

They started slowly and deviated from their normal game plan and soon found themselves 1-0 down. This spurred them into action and they averted a possible disaster with three quick goals to secure the points.

Their final match in the group stages was against a very physical Raphoe side which they drew 1-1. This ensured that they comfortably topped their group and progressed to the knockout stages with a quarter final match against Clifftonville.

They won this comfortably and then had to face a formidable Banbridge A team in the semis. This was a very closely fought match with both teams defending valiantly and snuffing out any real scoring opportunities. Late in the game Cookstown’s Charlie Acheson made an excellent tackle in midfield before finding Luke Haycock unmarked who made no mistake in scoring and taking the boys through to the showpiece final.

In the final they faced a very strong Annadale side and like the semi final this was a very tight affair. Captain Max Andeson was the difference in this match and his two early strikes saw Cookstown take a strong position in the match.

Annadale were not finished however and they piled on the pressure with attack after attack in an attempt to get back into the contest.

However some heroic goal line saves from Jordan Young kept them out and ensured that the boys became champions of Ulster for the first time under this new format.

Cookstown Hockey Club: Joshua Steenson, Jonathan Knipe, Ewan Cruickshank, Ethan Robinson, Jordan Young, Charlie Acheson, Max Anderson and Luke Haycock.