Smyth to the fore as Reds race past Service

Ryan Millar celebrates Stuart Smyth's opening goal during the Irish Junior Cup semi-final at Coolnafranky
Ryan Millar celebrates Stuart Smyth's opening goal during the Irish Junior Cup semi-final at Coolnafranky

The Reds almost had the perfect start to this game when, in the first minute, a Keith Black aerial was controlled brilliantly by Simon Todd on the far right of the circle but unfortunately his effort hit the side netting.

Stuart Smyth then won Cookstown’s first penalty corner when his reverse shot was saved dangerously by the home netminder, however the penalty corner came to nothing. A few minutes later a Service aerial was not controlled by Cookstown’s defence and Ian Hughes made a good save from a reverse effort.

Play then became scrappy as both teams found it difficult to get any fluidity going; indeed if Service’s basics had been better the Reds could have had a difficult day. Paul Thompson won Cookstown’s second penalty corner and Gareth Cuddy opened the scoring with a trademark drag.

Cookstown kept pushing forward and a good reverse cross from Stuart Smyth was helped towards the net by Greg Allen. The effort looked to be going wide, however, Ryan Miller dived to get the vital touch to double the lead and the scoreline stayed that way until half time.

The second half wasn’t too old when the Reds went further ahead. A bad defensive clearance was intercepted by Stuart Smyth who immediately rifled over a reverse cross which was expertly deflected past the keeper by Andy Barbour.

The Reds were completely bossing the game at this stage and would have increased their lead but for the heroics of the home side’s keeper. In their only attack of note throughout the entire second half Service found the net. A cross from Cookstown’s left side was deflected by Chris Barnes past Ian Hughes.

Towards the end of the game Sevice lost the ball around the half way line. Andy Barbour quickly found Paul Thompson on the left side and Thompson found the onrushing Stephen Sloan. Sloan entered the circle and opted to go on his reverse side and his effort was tapped in at the back post by Simon Todd to make the final score 1-4.

Cookstown travel to Lisnagarvey this Saturday and then play their final Premier League game on Wednesday, March 20 at home against Civil Service with an 8pm push back.

Cookstown: Ian Hughes; Keith Black; Godfrey Irwin; Matthew Rollins; David Best; Ewan Butler; Stephen Sloan; Andy Barbour; Simon Todd; Ryan Miller; Jon Ames; Greg Allen (c); Gareth Cuddy; Stuart Smyth; Paul Thompson