Hockey: Hughes helps Cookstown secure draw with Monkstown

BREAK... Cookstown's Mark Crooks breaks forward during last Saturday's league clash with Lisnagarvey at Steelweld Park.INMM5013-357SR
BREAK... Cookstown's Mark Crooks breaks forward during last Saturday's league clash with Lisnagarvey at Steelweld Park.INMM5013-357SR
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Monkstown 1-1 Cookstown -

Cookstown travelled to Dublin on Saturday afternoon in search of their first IHL win of the season.

They faced Monkstown, Ireland’s current Euro Hockey League representatives and holders of both the Irish Hockey League and Irish Senior Cup.

Needing a result badly after botched performances against Annadale and Pembroke, Cookstown took the lead in the final minutes of the first half when Mark Crooks deflected home a reverse stick cross from Simon Todd.

“I was just trying to make the right decisions throughout,” said Crooks, after scoring his third goal in two games.

“It’s great to get on the score sheet again thanks to a great delivery from Toddy.”

Injuries unfortunately plagued the travelling Cookstown side on Saturday, losing Ewan Butler early in the game through a hamstring strain followed by captain Greg Allen who clocked out at the close of Q3.

“It’s tough losing two key players during the game but you have to deal with it and adapt,” coach Stephen Cuddy said. “We had to find a way to fill those voids.”

Following the half-time break, the lack of rotation and injury trouble for the Reds began to take effect and they faced a series of committed Monkstown attacks.

The one goal lead remained intact well into the fourth quarter only for the goalkeeping of Ian Hughes, who’s stop count would have been well into the double-figures.

“Hughesy was great today - Monkstown dominated play late in the game and just could not get past him,” Captain Greg Allen said after the game. “When he plays like that, it motivates everyone.”

Despite the goalkeeping of Hughes, Monkstown eventually leveled the game through a Sykes corner with just five minutes to play.

Monkstown pressed on for a late winner, but were denied by Hughes and some frantic defending from the Reds.

The Stewartstown striker Miller had a late opportunity to win the game but was denied by the youthful Monkstown GK who was standing in for the injured Fitzgerald.

The fourth quarter horn expired with the game locked at one apiece, leaving qualification for the IHL final four possible provided a string of results play to Cookstown’s favour.

This weekend the 1st XI meet Instonians at Steelweld Park on Saturday 6th December at 2.30pm.