A PAINFUL trip to Cork Harlequins ended with one player in hospital and Cookstown knocked out of the Irish Senior Cup by the reigning champions.
The 2011 winners were left shaken after captain and striker Greg Allen was taken to Cork University Hospital after being hit in the side of the head with the ball during the Senior Cup clash at Farmer’s Cross on Saturday.
In his absence his teammates were unable to to find a way through the stubborn Harlequins defence.
Darren Beamish enjoyed a Harlequins debut to remember as he struck the only goal of the game to help the Cork outfit see off Cookstown in freezing conditions.
The former Bandon man found room in a crowded circle to reverse home a second-half winner in a patchy clash
However, the game will be remembered for the serious injury to Allen, who was taken by ambulance to hospital.
The Tyrone man was prone on the turf for around 10 minutes but was conscious throughout.
“On behalf of myself and Greg I would like to convey our sincere and heartfelt thanks to many Cork Harlequins, in particular Wes Bateman and Sarah Jones who looked after him pitchside until the paramedics arrived,” said dad, Les.
“Also, to Quins centre-back John Hobbs, who really looked after us. He is a true friend. As much as I love this game, a hockey result doesn’t matter when you see your son in distress.
“But, as usual, the unique hockey family we are all part of on this island came together to look after a few of their own. Greg stayed overnight in hospital - he still can’t eat solids and the headaches are still there.”
Players and supporters alike expressed their support on social media and welcomed the news Allen is set to return to hockey in around a month’s time.
Cork Harlequins defender Dan Hobbs said: “Delighted to hear Greg will be ok! Results really don’t matter when you see someone seriously injured in a game, Here’s to a speedy recovery!”
The incident sparked bad memories for Cookstown, whose former captain Godfrey Irwin missed almost a year of hockey after suffering a fractured skull.
Irwin was hit by a drag-flick from one of the world’s most renowned set-piece specialists, Amsterdam’s Taeke Taekema, in the EuroHockey League in October 2011.
Irwin was back in Cookstown colours against Quins on Saturday sporting a Petr Cech-style scrum cap, and admits his days of defending the goal-line at short corners are long gone.