Historic Hockey Intervarsities Win
Published on: Thursday, 18 November 2010
CIT’s Mens Senior Hockey Team's fantastic victory at the Hockey Intervarsities
CIT opened its varsities tournament with a pool clash against Dublin City University (DCU), prevailing comfortably on a 2-0 scoreline. An early drag-flick from captain Roger Gray settled the nerves, before Alistair Smith got a superb touch to a long ball to deflect it past the DCU keeper. GAA star Aidan Walsh - playing his first game of hockey - successfully kept DCU's centre forward quiet, while Cork hurling panelist Lorcan McLoughlin settled quickly to his task up front. CIT had a myriad of chances thereafter and controlled the game, but some inspired goalkeeping from DCU's Stephen West meant they couldn't add to their tally.
CIT came up against defending champions University of Ulster (UU) in its second encounter on day two, knowing that victory would all but assure its place in the last four. They duly responded with a copycat of the first game, as goals from Gray and a beaut from Smith - who broke clear of the defence before rounding the keeper and finishing adroitly from a tight angle - gave CIT a 2-0 victory which also extinguished UU's faint hopes of reaching the semi-finals.
With DCU's 1-1 draw with Queens assuring CIT of a semi-final place, they took on Queens in a more relaxed fashion, although knowing a win would ensure they topped their pool. After a slow start, a couple of goals from Gray and another from Smith had them cruising, before sweeper John Hobbs strode forward to cap a fine move by lobbing the Queens goalkeeper, after some great work by Gray and Darren Beamish. The 4-0 margin of victory dumped Queens out of the tournament, putting DCU through on goal difference.
UCC's shock defeat of hosts and tournament favorites UCD in the other pool meant CIT were given the tougher semi-final draw. Having conceded no goals and just one short corner throughout the entire pool stages, it was something of a disappointment for them to concede a goal to UCD's Shane O'Donnell from a set-piece early on. But CIT restored parity just before the break via a John Hobbs switch-flick, before Ireland A forward Ali Smith then took the game by the scruff of the neck, with two solo goals in as many minutes. Smith had developed a habit of scoring spectacular goals in the pool stages, but saved his best two for the big occasion. The first saw him dance past two defenders before lofting the ball over the advancing keeper with a deft, full-length jab, before he rifled an unstoppable shot into the far corner after skinning O’Donnell on the right. UCD poured forward in the final minutes, and that pressure eventually told in the form of a penalty stroke, which Ben Dobson dispatched. But the equaliser eluded them to send CIT through.
|CIT’s Victorious Intervarsities Squad 2010 details|
CIT came face-to-face with DCU once more in the final, after the Glasnevin College had shocked UCC 1-0 in the other semi-final, denying the unique occasion of an all-Cork final. DCU took another shock lead in the decider, through a fine individual strike from Luke Hayden, and reverted to a rearguard action that often saw all of their outfielders camped inside their own 25. CIT’s corner unit was failing to fire as they couldn’t find a way past DCU’s former Ireland U18 keeper Stephen West – later named player of the tournament – and they were still behind when the break arrived. But the surging runs of Gray, Malcolm Coombes, Darren Beamish and Ali Smith continued to create the set-pieces, and Gray eventually leveled it ten minutes into the second half, getting a second bite at the cherry after scuffing his first effort. There was nothing fortunate about the captain’s winning strike soon after though – this time, the Munster U21 captain danced around the first runner and rifled home the drag-flick. DCU briefly threatened at the other end when winning their sole corner of the game, but Glenanne drag-flicker Stephen Brownlow’s effort was well saved by Harry Fleming.
The final whistle sparked wild celebrations among the CIT players, as well as their UCC counterparts who poured onto the pitch to join in the fun, having supported their Rebel colleagues from the sidelines along with, of course, the CIT ladies team who had also competed admirably reaching the semi-final of the Plate.
(Report courtesy of Manager Alan Good. For further hockey details please click here )