UCD came within 12 minutes of a dream Irish Senior Cup double as their women stormed to a brilliant 3-1 success over Pegasus in their final held over from the 2019/20 season before their men pushed huge favourites Lisnagarvey all the way.
For the women, UCD coach Miles Warren hailed it as the “strangest” victory of their three titles in the past four years. He was able to recall three players who have departed for pastures new with the competition using last term’s registrations while clearance to play was only given late on Friday night from the college authorities due to an increase local Covid-19 restrictions.
In the circumstances, Warren admitted he was surprised how well they gelled in building a 2-0 lead in the first quarter via Hannah McLoughlin’s drag-flick and Michelle Carey’s audacious dexterity.
Pegs fought back via Ruth Maguire’s strike in the third quarter but a brilliant counter-strike from Katherine Egan settled the tie. Warren paid tribute to Suzie Kelly and Patton sisters Orla and Sarah for making themselves available.
“The three girls who came back have played massive minutes for us in the last two years so they arrived at their one training on Thursday and slotted in seamlessly. They are such lovely girls that, socially, it made the dynamic in the group so happy.
“We came in with little pressure because we felt our preparation wasn’t ideal and it was about enjoying the day which they did!”
Later the same day, UCD’s men came agonisingly close to a maiden Irish Senior crown as a brilliant first half saw them build a 2-1 lead courtesy of Andrew Meates and Sam Byrne.
And they held that advantage until 12 minutes from time when Garvey – despite a sin-binning for Andy Edgar – stormed back with Ben Nelson and Andy Williamson scored in quick succession for a 3-2 final score.
It was Lisnagarvey’s 24th victory in the competition which dates back to 1893 and is hockey’s oldest club cup.
“It was a proper cup final. UCD, a young team with a lot of representative players at Under-18 and 21, and some now in the senior setup, played their part and it could have gone either way,” said Garvey coach Erroll Lutton who was his club’s captain the last time they won the cup in 2005.
“Maybe not as much quality as both teams would like but that’s regularly the way – you don’t get the quality but you do get the drama, getting down to the last quarter 2-1 behind.”