HOCKEY: Cookstown demolished by Anndale in Kirk Cup Final

Peter Caruth, Annadale and Matthew Rollins, Cookstown

Peter Caruth, Annadale and Matthew Rollins, Cookstown

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Annadale lifted the Kirk Cup for the third time after a four-goal first-half blast helped them to an 8-1 win over Cookstown at Stormont yesterday.

However the win was achieved at a cost because Dale player-coach Peter Caruth looked to have sustained a nasty ankle injury immediately after scoring the final goal, causing the game to be ended prematurely with seconds left.

Cookstown defending

Cookstown defending

After receiving treatment on the pitch, he was able to hobble off on a set of crutches and take part in the celebrations before heading for an X-ray.

With the teams neck and neck in the Ulster Premier League, having dropped only a point apiece from a drawn game when they played each other, a much closer contest was anticipated.

However, Annadale had the game put to bed by half-time by which stage they led 4-0 after some devastating attacking play undid the normally water- tight Cookstown defence.

The Carryduff-based team were much more clinical in the circle and made their intentions clear from the start of the opening 35 minutes, going close on a couple of occasions with the contest in its infancy.

David Morris, Annadale and Paul Thompson, Cookstown

David Morris, Annadale and Paul Thompson, Cookstown

But it was Cookstown who had the best chance early on when, in the eighth minute, Keith Black was unable to get enough purchase on his shot when well-placed to give his team the lead.

That miss was made to look costly seven minutes later when Ben Wallace made space for himself from the first penalty-corner of the match and drilled the ball home to break the deadlock.

Less than 60 seconds later, Cookstown conceded a second goal as Craig Getty ran on to an excellent pass and squeezed the ball into the net at the near post.

Worse was to follow for the Tyrone team, appearing in their eighth Kirk Cup final in 10 years, in the 20th minute when the dale increased their lead.

Dan Crooks, Cookstown

Dan Crooks, Cookstown

Veteran Peter Bland set off on a great run down the left and squared the ball across the face of goal for player-coach Peter Caruth to apply the finishing touch.

Cookstown had a chance to pull one back three minutes later but Johnny Moore batted away a lofted shot from Greg Allen.

Five minutes into the second-half, Caruth got his second from the penalty-spot after a foul by Godfrey Irwin on Matthew Crookshanks and Cookstown were left with a mission impossible.

To their credit though, Cookstown battled bravely in an attempt to salvage something from the game and Moore had to be at his best to deny Allen at a penalty-corner.

Ryan Millar, Cookstown

Ryan Millar, Cookstown

Allen then pulled a goal back from a penalty-corner in the 64th minute after Moor had denied him once again along with Michael Kerr in quick succession.

But with Cookstown pushing forward, they left gaps at the back and Bland walloped in a loose ball in the 69th minute from the edge of the circle before Fergus Gibson made it 7-1.

Caruth then raced clear of the Cookstown defence in the dying seconds and hammered the ball high into the net for goal number eight before his match came to a painful end.

Greg Allen, Cookstown and David Robb, Annadale

Greg Allen, Cookstown and David Robb, Annadale