Historic first final for Raphoe

Raphoe Hockey Club will compete in the Men’s Irish Hockey Trophy final for the first time ever when they take on University College Cork at the National Hockey Stadium next month.

Raphoe Hockey Club will compete in the Men’s Irish Hockey Trophy final for the first time ever when they take on University College Cork at the National Hockey Stadium next month.

Raphoe 4

Portadown 1

Report: ALAN FOLEY

Photos: CONOR McGONAGLE

The side under the stewardship of David Buchanan and Alan Patterson came from behind yesterday in the first ever semi-final appearance to defeat Portadown by four goals to one.

It was a triumph based on patience as much as anything as the home support at the Royal & Prior grounds had to endure a nightmare start.

The play had barely settled when the visitors were in front. Fifty seconds were on the watch when Jamie Wright broke down the right hand side and got the better of the hosts’ goalkeeper, Johnny Rankin.

Raphoe’s league form has been good this season. After a surprise loss against Bangor a fortnight ago last weekend’s 7-1 win against Armagh got the team back on track in the league and their cup fortunes also were leaning on their powers of recovery.

Perhaps the early concession was the best thing that could’ve happened. They didn’t realise it at the time, but the need to push on and get back into the game did Raphoe more good than harm. Straight away they put Portadown under pressure to produce an interval lead of two goals to one.

After both George Patterson and then Richard both went close, it was a piercing move that led to the equalising goal with Ian McGonigle on the mark following a neat centre by William Kilpatrick.

Then, four minutes before the break Raphoe were in front. This time it was Gavin Lecky who was the goalscorer when Matthew Lecky was initially denied by Portadown goalkeeper Johnny Rot.

The get to the last four, the Donegal side defeated Newry 2-1 in November with William Kilpatrick and Trevor Patterson on the mark, before Gavin Leckey’s goal saw off Suttonians. The Catholic Institute were beaten 4-1 last month, with Gavin and Matthew Lecky, Richard and Trevor Patterson on the mark.

At the interval Raphoe knew they had one foot in the final but the third quarter saw the home team dig in more, thus giving the offensive gears a little rest. Sixteen minutes into the second half, the crucial third Raphoe goal meant they could start planning their trip the Belfield.

Lee Coll, who had only been on the pitch a matter of moments having just come on as a substitute touched home a ball in from Keith Meehan. A minute later, Coll almost added a fourth but was denied in a one-on-one situation with the goalkeeper, who did well to save.

Then, on 56 minutes the icing was put on the cake when a well-rehearsed short corner routine made it four. William Kilpatrick rolled in for Meehan to tee up Richard Patterson, who slammed home a fourth to the delight of the home support.

Raphoe will now take on UCC at the National Hockey Stadium on Sunday, April 1 in the final. UCC defeated North Antrim yesterday by three goals at two at the Mardyke Centre in Cork city.

Raphoe: Johnny Rankin, William Kilpatrick, Rodney Bates, William Wauchope, William Lecky, Ian McGonigle (Captain), Richard Patterson, George Patterson, Keith Meehan, Gavin Lecky, John Watt. Subs: Alan Meehan, Lee Coll, Trevor Patterson, Simon Goudi, David Moore.

Portadown: Johnny Rot, John McCracken, Neil Gilmore, Gareth Trot, Stephen Wylie, James Ferguson, Geoff Edcar, Jonathan Harkin, Jonathan Magill, Jamie Wright, Matthew Gray. Subs: Jamie Nipe, Mark Miskelly.