Cookstown title ambitions in tatters

Antrim's Mark Smyth and Banbridge's Colin Dowds
Antrim's Mark Smyth and Banbridge's Colin Dowds

Reigning Premiership champions, Cookstown, virtually saw their crown slip from their grasp, after they went down 2-1 to Instonians at Coolnafrankey.

The newly crowned Boxing Day Kirk Cup winners, had hoped the win would be the boost they needed to reignite their league campaign but their erratic league form once again plagued them as 2013 got underway.

It used to be their home base, aptly named ‘Fortress Coolnafrankey’ was impregnable, as teams could not leave with even a point.

However, this was their second home defeat and with two home draws also, the Fortress has been severely damaged.

The Reds now trail leaders Banbridge by an incredible 13 points and whilst most teams would throw in the towel, of one thing you can be sure, Cookstown will definitely not go down without a fight.

After 10 minutes, William Robinson stunned Cookstown when he fired Inst into the lead, converting a penalty stroke. But minutes later, Cookstown were back on level terms when Paddy Martin deflected the ball home for an OG.

From then on the game was up for grabs, as play swung from end to end but it was the visitors who took all three points after Robinson cracked home the winner from open play late on.

Leaving Cookstown pondering how they did not at least take a point from this one.

Meanwhile, Banbridge went six points clear at the top of the premiership, after they defeated Antrim 7-4.

Scott Caruth opened Bann’s account but it was short-lived when David Mailey levelled it. Owen Magee edged Bann back into the lead but once again, Antrim were back on level terms, this time Lloyd Kane levelling it and all within the opening 10 minutes.

But by half time Bann were three ahead, with two goals from Stephen Dowds and a second from Scott Caruth. Josh Moffet made it 6-2 after the turn. Neil McCullough pulled one back for the hosts but Dowds wrapped up his hat-trick minutes later.

Antrim were not finished and Kane nipped in, to once again punish the Bann defence to make it 7-4 but the result leaves Antrim two points off the foot of the table.

Belfast Harlequins hammered Mossley 7-0, thanks to four goals from Luke McClleland, two from Neil Anderson and one from Chris Lemon.

This defeat leaves Mossley staring relegation in the face and takes Harlequins away from the drop zone.

Lisnagarvey had to come behind at Kilkeel to claim a point, in an exciting 3-3 draw. Goals from Eddie Agnew, Mark Stevenson and Craig Cunningham ensured a share of the spoils with two goals from Timmy Cockram and one from Andy Forrest for Garvey.

Two goals from Richard Maybin gave Annadale three very valuable away points after they defeated Civil Service 2-1 at Stormont, Gareth Sanders scoring for Service.