PURSUIT... Cookstown's Gregg Allen in pursuit of the ball.INMM1013-346SR
PURSUIT... Cookstown's Gregg Allen in pursuit of the ball.INMM1013-346SR

COOKSTOWN got a welcome boost ahead of their big Kirk Cup match-up against Banbridge on Monday with the return of last season’s captain, Greg Allen, from his Australian hockey adventure.

Greg played for Peel Rebels alongside Banbridge’s Owen Magee for the Western Australian club based in Mandurah. The region is home to the strongest club sides in the country and is where the Australian National squads are centralised.

“I had an unbelievable time in Australia,” Greg told the MAIL. “Not just the hockey but the experience of living overseas. Owen and myself did a good bit of travelling while we were there.

“It was a great season. I scored 20 goals and won an award as the league’s top scorer. For the first time in the club’s history, Peel finished top of the league and earned a place in the playoffs. We had to win by three clear goals in the last game and with five minutes left we had only managed two. But somehow we got there and ended up winning 4-0.”

The President of Peel Rebels, Mr Neville Griffiths, said, “Greg was a great ambassador for Cookstown Hockey Club and Northern Ireland. It was an honour to meet Greg and get to know him and a privilege to watch him play hockey for our club.

“To score 20 goals in this league is almost unheard of and they were vital in getting us promoted - in fact the club would not have gained promotion but for Greg’s goals. Hopefully he will have fond memories of his time here with us, we will certainly not forget him.”

Greg’s Cookstown cohorts face newly promoted Raphoe in County Donegal this Saturday, but it is unlikely that Greg will be available for the game following his long season and journey home. The Reds, however, have a quick turnaround, taking on Banbridge on Monday night at Steelweld Park at 8pm in the all-important Kirk Cup group game.