Instonians prove too strong for Kilkeel at Shaws Bridge

Ewan Butler scores for Cookstown
Ewan Butler scores for Cookstown

Matthew Martin produced a scintillating second half performance to ensure that Instonians remained in the premiership title race.

The young midfielder was in sublime form, as he repeatedly carved his way through the Kilkeel defence, who up until half time had contained the Shaw’s Bridge outfit to a goal deficit.

And it was on the back of Martin’s performance that Instonians rail-roaded Kilkeel out of the game, as they smashed in six second half goals.

This was a banana skin game for Inst, as Kilkeel have the potential of upsetting the apple cart, as many of the top sides have already experienced this season.

“We were not good in the first half,” said Inst player coach Mark Irwin.

“Kilkeel are a very difficult team to play against and they proved that today. They are quick on the break and create a lot of chances and we had to be on our guard against them.

“I was very pleased with the overall result and to come away with a 7-0 win is obviously very pleasing, as we were missing a few key players with Steven Redpath, James Corry and Julian Lewis not available.

“So we had to dig deep and several players who were brought in, stepped up to the mark and played very well for us.”

Both sides were locked out for the first 20 minutes and it looked like Kilkeel were possibly going to sneak the lead. But once again, Inst goal-keeper Richard Johnston was on inspiring form, as he stopped everything that the visitors could throw at him.

On 24 minutes John Watson broke the deadlock, guiding the ball home from Inst 4th penalty corner.

For the first 10 minutes of the second half, Kilkeel went in search of the equaliser but again Johnston denied Gareth Russell and William Annett.

But in the 46th minute and from Inst’s 6th penalty corner, William Robinson doubled the home side’s lead, sending the ball high into the net.

Five minutes later, Johnny Madill put Kilkeel out of the game, as he notched up Inst’s third goal. And further goals from Irwin and Paul Gleghorne had Inst heading towards another three deserved points.

It was a devastating spell for Inst but they were not finished, as Martin drilled home their ninth penalty corner. And with five minutes remaining, Martin capped a memorable performance, bamboozling the Kilkeel defence as he spun on a sixpence at the top of the D, to slip the ball invitingly for Robinson to crack home goal number seven.

Banbridge kept their six point lead intact, as they crushed Belfast Harlequins 7-1 thanks goals from Stephen Dowds, Josh Moffet, Hugh McShane, Dane Ward, Scott Forbes and Fraser Mills, his first since switching from Annadale.

Cookstown bounced back from their home defeat by Inst last week, as they claimed all three points in a 3-1 over Annadale. Gareth Cuddy, Ewan Butler and Simon Todd on target for the Reds and William Edgar for Dale.

Greg Thompson smashed home five goals in Lisnagarvey’s 11-0 mauling of Antrim at Comber Road, with Tim Cockram notching up another four goals to his tally.