Brace apiece for Nelson and Smyth as they lead the way for Seconds

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Lisnagarvey III 0 Cookstown II 6

Top scorers, Dicky Nelson and Andy Smyth, added two goals apiece to their season’s totals as Cookstown put Lisnagarvey to the sword with a proficient display.

The Reds got off to the best possible start when Nelson brilliantly got on the end of two near post crosses, deflecting the ball deftly past the frustrated keeper within five minutes of the start.

After their terrible start, Lisnagarvey began to come back into the match in the second quarter but should’ve found themselves further behind when Butler sprinted clear but missed the target with his half-volley.

Nevertheless, within five minutes of the start of the second half, Cookstown were 4-0 to the good. Butler delicately deflected the ball home after a Nelson reverse before the Johnston twins, Tony and Ian, combined with the latter getting his third of the season.

Michael Anderson had to be on his toes midway through the half, making two brilliant saves with his feet, while Andy Ferguson and Ian Cheevers, making his comeback from injury, were in top form in defence.

Andy Smyth then added his brace. His second was a real cracker; a Thomas Hutchinson pass split the midfield and defence before the Omagh schoolboy beat the last defender, smashing the ball on the half-volley into the bottom corner.

Cookstown’s next match is against Banbridge II in the Irish Junior Cup semi-final at Coolnafranky Park on Sunday at 2pm. The two teams met at the same stage last year with the Tyrone men coming out on top on penalty flicks after drawing 2-2.

Banbridge have been the best team in Ulster Junior hockey this year, but Cookstown will not be daunted by the challenge having already defeated IJC champions Corinthians and Leinster’s best junior side, YMCA, in the quarter-finals.

Cookstown II: Michael Anderson, David Atkinson, Ian Cheevers, Andrew Ferguson, Mark Wilson, Thomas Hutchinson, Andrew Mcwhirter, Tony Johnston, Richard Nelson, Gavin Butler, Andrew Smyth, Ian Johnston

Man of the Match: Thomas Hutchinson; controlling influence in the middle of the park was exemplary.