Cookstown 3rd XI Hockey

Cookstown 3rd XI - 11 Lisnagarvey 4th XI - 1

COOKSTOWN 3rd XI entertained rivals Lisnagarvey at Coolnafranky on Saturday knowing a win would push them forward in their quest for promotion. A strong, but fair team was put out by captain McGaw who was anticipating a difficult game against strong opposition.

It was the captain who opened the scoring when he tried his best to miss but a miss-hit left the keeper wrong footed and the ball crawled into the net to put the Reds one up. This was quickly followed by number two when the brilliant Rooney, skinnier than his name-sake Wayne, had the same effect when he took on and beat three defenders before hitting it hard and low into the corner for two.

The forwards were working hard, while Captain Marvel ‘made the space’ as a high forward. Goal number three wasn’t far away when sweeper McWhirter found himself in the opposition circle, (he knew Michael Millar was more than capable of keeping it tight at the back) and hammered home a reverse to leave the keeper with no chance. Yet the best was yet to come. If ever anyone needed a lesson on how to score a reverse look no further than Mark Wilson.

The centre midfielder, took the ball into the circle on his ‘weak’ side before unleashing a reverse across the keeper an into the far right hand corner. It’s not often he scores but this was worth waiting for!

Andy Smyth, who scored 5 on the day, got his first with a deflection from a Ryan Johnston hit before Garvey broke clear to score their one and only goal of the game, and a good one at that. That was Spud Gillis’ only action all game, picking it out of the net! Smyth quickly scored his second when a full length of the pitch break involving Donaldson, Robinson and Johnston left him with a simple task of putting the ball past the now deflated keeper.

So at half time it was just a matter of keeping the ball and scoring lovely goals but in fairness Garvey played a lot better in the first ten minutes of the half than they had all game. Daniel Crooks came on for Donaldson and Marc Crooks, not Dan’s brother, for Johnston. A few half chances appeared for Thom, Wilson and M Crooks and finally Cookstown regained the momentum when experienced pairing Robinson and Wilson took charge once again and it was this combination that set up McWhirter for his second after a long individual run.

Smyth then scored three in a row to finish his tally for the day, one was another brilliant deflection after fine work by Rooney down the right, another was a good individual run and one was a tap in after McGaw had again miscontrolled the ball. So five for Andy Smyth, showing signs of a young Stuarty Smyth in the process!

The scoring was finally completed when Ryan Johnston’s shot was misjudged by the keeper and creeped in at the near post. So the score was 11-1, not often that happens in a Cookstown vs. Garvey game and certainly not often McGaw passes the ball but it showed he does have that side to his game as he only scored one goal all game. Thanks to Brian Thom and Stevie Smyth for umpiring duties.

Team: Spud, Millar, Thom, McWhirter, Donaldson, Wilson, Rooney, Robinson, McGaw (c) Johnston, Smyth, D Crooks, M Crooks.

Man of the Match this week was Andy Smyth. His five goals were only part of his overall game. Mark Wilson was outstanding in midfield and made a huge contribution to the game but his scoring exploits, as good as that goal was, put him in second place.