Reds get back on the rails with seven goal showing

Cookstown 7 North Down 0

THE REDS surged into the top three in the Ulster Premier League with a defiant demolition of North Down at Coolnafranky on Saturday.

Despite a number of injury and illness-enforced absences, Cookstown were the better team throughout and Paul Thompson, getting a run of games due to the missing players, bagged a double for his efforts.

“This was a real good result,” said Cookstown skipper Godfrey Irwin. “It was a good work out and it is really nice to score four goals while also keeping a clean sheet. Both sides were missing important players but, other than the first ten minutes, I thought we were on top.

“It was a very good performance all round, so much so that it was difficult to pick out a man of the match.”

Cookstown may have been missing Keith Black, Stephen Sloan, Matty Rollins and Ian Hughes, but were able to bring in the returning Alistair Thom to goals after his time at Instonians.

He was part of a defence which kept the North Down attack at bay throughout, despite needing Thompson to take one off the line to make sure of the clean sheet.

Thompson’s reverse and deflected double was added to by Gareth Cuddy, Thomas Hutchinson, Mark Crooks, Timmy Smyth and an excellent drive by David Best.

Next up for the Reds are games against Mossley away and Kilkeel at home.

“Six points is a must in these two games,” Irwin told the Mid. “If we are to hold onto third spot in the league and win automatic qualification to next season’s Irish Hockey League (IHL), these are the sort of games win have to be winning.

“We are still missing Rollins, Hughes and Sloan, but we will hopefully get Keith Black a bit of pitch time this week. It will be a welcome return and will give him a chance to see where he is.”

Cookstown: Al Thom, Godfrey Irwin, Gareth Cuddy, Thomas Hutchinson, Ewan Butler, Ian Sloan, Andy Barbour, Mark Crooks, David Best, Greg Allen, Timmy Smyth, Stuart Smyth, Ryan Millar