Match ReportsMens

Irish Trophy Final awaits for North Down

North Down welcomed Belfast Harlequins to Comber Leisure Centre on Saturday for a semi-final clash in the Irish Trophy. A close game was envisaged, with both teams having met in this competition in the last two seasons and needing penalty run ins on both occasions to decide the winner.

The first quarter started with the home side enjoying good spells of possession, dictated by Jonny Linter’s wide range of passing at centre back. The scoring opened with Gareth McKeown finding space on the right and his shot across goal was deflected by Connor Tweedie into the side netting to make it 1-0 to North Down. Harlequins responded and Darren Rodgers stood tall to smartly deny the advancing forward who was through one on one on goal.

Harlequins responded again strongly in the second quarter. A flowing move was finished clinically at the flick spot to make it 1-1. Josh Gilmore had an excellent opportunity to restore North Down’s lead but his reverse strike cruelly found the crossbar with the keeper beaten so it finished all square at half time.

The third quarter continued in end to end fashion and it was Gareth McKeown causing problems to the away defence once again, this time a rasping shot from the top of the circle giving the Harlequins’ keeper no chance. Strong running from Andrew Boyd was the main driver behind the wave of North Down attacks to follow. Jordan Linter conceded a short-corner late in the quarter but made amends clearing the Harlequins drag flick off the line when it was destined for the top corner.

Early in the final quarter with the scoreline still close at 2-1, Scott Moore increased the lead at a crucial time, sweeping the ball home with a smart finish. Harlequins were pushing to get back into the game and did pull a goal back however it was too late and the final whistle blew much to the home team’s delight. It finished 3-2 and North Down march on to face Kilkeel, victors over Kilkenny, in the final scheduled for May.

Burch Autos man of the match was Andrew Boyd

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