Instonians claimed the Kirk Cup for the first time in more than a decade when they confirmed their favourites’ status with an emphatic 8-2 win over Mossley at Stormont in the Boxing Day final at Stormont.
The Ulster Premier League leaders started the game as hot favourites against the Newtownabbey team as they attempted to lift the famous trophy for the first time since 2004.
You have to go back to 1983 for Mossley’s last triumph in the competition when were shock-troopers in beating Lisnagarvey but there was to be no upset on this occasion.
Mossley had lost 6-1 and 2-0 in the teams’ two league meetings so they were really up against it on Boxing Day as they attempted to defy the odds.
Their cause wasn’t helped when they conceded two goals to Alan Patterson in the opening six minutes.
But the underdogs battled courageously throughout and it was only when Inst scored four times without reply after the break that the outcome was put beyond doubt.
However Steven Redpath’s team emerged deserving winners despite surviving some late pressure from Mossley who could have scored twice in the dying minutes had it not been for a couple of great saves from the Inst keeper.
Instonians’ triumph will have boosted confidence in the camp ahead of the remainder of the Premier League campaign as they kept on course for a domestic hockey double-success.
Team captain Andrew Corry was delighted with his side’s performance against the Newtownabbey side.
“We got off to a perfect start when Alan scored two excellent goals but, all credit to Mossley because they dug deep and made it hard for us.” he said.
“We said at half-time that, with us leading 4-2, what ever team got the next goal was going to be crucial and fortunately it was us.
“Hopefully our win will act as a springboard for the rest of the season as there is still a lot of hockey to be played.
“Our next target is to win the Ulster Premier League and after that go on and qualify for next season’s Irish Hockey League but we are under no illusions as to how difficult that will be.
“But we’ll enjoy our Kirk Cup win first before we start to think about the rest of the season as it’s a special trophy and it’s been a while since we last won it.”
Patterson got Inst off to a dream start when he scored the opener after only 50 seconds, finishing clinically after a swift passing movement in the circle and he added his second five minutes later.
Jordan Robinson gave Mossley some hope when he rifled in the first penalty corner of the game in the eighth minute.
But goals from William Robinson and Stephen Kelso made it 4-1 only for Robinson to get his second in fine style and make it 4-2 at half-time.
However Inst turned the screw after the interval and Andrew Coulter’s 40th minute set-piece made it 5-2, leaving Mossley with a near-impossible task.
Further goals followed from James Dowling, who got two, and Stephen Kelso and there was no way back for a gallant Mossley side who, with a little luck, could have reduced the deficit after a strong finish.