Seconds through to the Junior Cup final

The Reds celebrate with match winner Richard Nelson
The Reds celebrate with match winner Richard Nelson

Cookstown 2 Banbridge 2 (Cookstown win 4-2 on pens)

COOKSTOWN seconds are through to the final of the Irish Junior Cup. After years of falling at the semi final stage, the team clawed their way through in an absorbing game at Coolnafranky last Sunday.

They will now take on Dublin side Corinthians at the National Hockey Stadium at UCD this coming Sunday with a 3.30pm start. The seconds started as underdogs in this game as Bann drafted in a few players with Prem League experience.

Bann started in the ascendancy and with 5 minutes gone Ali Thom made a good save from a reverse strike. However ,2 minutes later the Reds found themselves behind when Cosgrove scored with a reverse strike. Bann should have increased their lead but missed a sitter at the back post after Cookstown lost possession in midfield.

Midway through the half the Reds won their first penalty corner after good work from Stu Smyth and Mark Wilson netted after a good variation. Yet again Bann put Cookstown under pressure and quickly won a couple of penalty corners which came to nothing.

With 2 minutes until the half, a great run by Stevie Allen which left 2 defenders in his wake, almost resulted in Cookstown taking the lead.

Into the second half and suddenly Cookstown had upped the pace and began to press the Bann back four. With 9 minutes gone Graeme Black was upended in the circle and a stroke was awarded. Graeme picked himself up and remained calm to score from the spot to put Cookstown ahead.

The Reds were now bossing the game in midfield and always looked like scoring again. However, a slack pass from Miller in midfield led to Bann winning a penalty corner and Thom was beaten by a drag to his left. Cookstown kept pressing and Allen won a penalty corner. Keeper Appleton saved Wilson’s shot and also the rebound follow up from Allen. With 2 minutes of normal time remaining Bann were awarded a penalty corner, but again their routine let them down with another mis-trap.

Into extra time golden goal but chances were at a premium as tired legs and minds kicked in. Extra time ended scoreless so it was into the dreaded penalty strokes.

Graeme Black stepped up and scored. Bann scored. Ryan Miller scored. Bann scored.Andy McWhirter missed. Cosgrove missed for Bann with Thom pulling off a top drawer save. Ian Cheevers scored. Bann missed with Thom making an even better save. Richard Nelson scored to send the Reds through to the final.

Cookstown: Ali Thom, Ian Cheevers, Mark Wilson, Dan Crooks, Andy McWhirter, Paul Thompson, Philip Morton, Richard Nelson, Stevie Allen, Graeme Black, Stuart Smyth, Gavin Butler, Tony Johnston, Ryan Millar, Paul Watt and Andy Smyth

Man of the Match: Richard Nelson