Cookstown II had a hard lesson in hockey on Saturday as they were well beaten by a Lisnagarvey II team at the top of their game.
Fielding an inexperienced line-up with an average age of just nineteen, the team were able to blood yet another schoolboy talent with Matty Glendinning starting at centre back for the first time.
Cookstown came under pressure from the first minute but good work from Jack Haycock at sweeper saw him make two key interventions.
Nevertheless, the Reds found themselves 1-0 down on five minutes when Mark Raphael scored after making an interception in midfield.
Cookstown lost centre midfielder Gavin Butler a few minutes later leading to a shuffle of the remaining eleven players.
They were 3-0 down before too long after Garvey tucked away two short corners, but for the remainder of the half Reds managed to sort out their defensive structure and forced the Hillsborough men into some uncharacteristic sloppy play in attack
Determined to start the second period at a gallop, unfortunately tiring Cookstown legs led to an early mistake in the midfield which Garvey converted with a pinpoint reverse on the turn.
To their credit the young Reds side didn’t let the pressure get to them and, but for a period when they tried to use the aerial route out of defence, they managed to put together a few good phases in attack without really troubling the Garvey keeper.
The change was, however, temporary, and Garvey’s structure and one touch game - as well as a growing number of Cookstown mistakes - was enough to allow Garvey four more goals before the full time whistle.
Despite the score line, this was a fantastic experience for the young Cookstown team against the best team in Irish junior hockey. This young team will be much the better for the match.
Cookstown: Josh Anderson, Jack Haycock, Steven Stewart, Matty Glendinning, Brett McConnell, Michael Kerr, Gavin Butler, Robin Johnston, Callum Anderson, Ryan Donaldson, Scott McCabe, Jack Dingley
Solo Fuels Man of the Match: Jack Haycock