Buser doubles up to secure ‘Garvey IHL tie against Bann

Lisnagarvey captain Jonny Bell receives the Premiership Trophy from UHU President, William Stewart
Lisnagarvey captain Jonny Bell receives the Premiership Trophy from UHU President, William Stewart

Five days and counting to the biggest weekend of hockey in the IHA calendar and the IHL play-off promises to be electrifying, with Ulster’s top two sides Lisnagarvey and Banbridge going toe to toe in the semi-finals.

Newly crowned Ulster champions, Lisnagarvey looked to be on their way out of the competition until Daniel Buser had a say in the matter, as his two goals helped secure Garvey a berth in the last four.

Opponents Cookstown raced into the lead. Raymond Millar fired the visitors ahead after only 12 seconds on the clock.

And three minutes later, Millar was the provider this time setting up Stuart Smyth to crack home the Reds second.

Garvey were firm pre-match favourites to win this one and it seemed that Cookstown had their eye on an IHL semi spot.

With Cookstown still in the driving season at the end of the first quarter, the Garvey faithful knew they were in for a fight.

And when Sean Murray cracked the ball off the crossbar in the 20th minute, it looked like the Reds could do it.

However, as the minutes ticked down and with Garvey nerves beginning to jangle, Buser pounced onto a loose ball to nip it home four minutes from the interval.

And seconds before the turn, Timmy Cockram settled Garvey nerves, when he drilled the ball home with inch perfect precision from their second penalty corner.

The third period was a more even affair and perhaps if Cookstown could have kept players on the pitch, as at one stage they had three in the sin bin, it could have been them going to the semis.

But as the game went into the final quarter, Lisnagarvey went for the winner.

And after Buser had missed a couple of chances he made amends, when he finished off a three player move to coolly slide the ball past Ian Hughes in the Cookstown goal and take Garvey through to the play-offs.

Speaking after the game, Buser the two goal hero said: “I had a couple of chances before I scored but thankfully I got that one at the end.

“We thought that a draw was going to take us through when we heard Three Rock were 3-1 up against Pembroke but the goal secured it for us.

“We will look forward to Bann in the semis. We played them two years ago in the final and we lost here on penalty strokes, so it would be good to get some revenge for that next week.”

But whatever the outcome, one Ulster team will be going through to Sunday’s final.