Disappointment for Portrush as they suffer narrow defeat in Irish final

Portrush player Callum McKeeman gets a shot on target in the Irish Hockey Challenge final on Sunday
Portrush player Callum McKeeman gets a shot on target in the Irish Hockey Challenge final on Sunday

Portrush Hockey Club’s campaign to claim another trophy this season fell short at the National Hockey Stadium at Belfield on Sunday when they lost out by 3-2 against Limerick.

The Antrim men went ahead on two occasions during their match at University College Dublin, but an Andrew Tutty double in the second period saw Limerick land their first national title in this guise since forming in 2000.

Indeed, it means the title stays in the Treaty City for another year as they won the trophy won by Catholic Institute a year ago.

Callum McKeeman’s dinky reverse stick finish got the Ports off to a flyer but poacher supreme Cathal Duggan – working in tandem with Roger Clarke up top – was on hand to flick home an equaliser in the sixth minute.

Brent Smith restored Portrush’s lead at the break when a corner rebounded out to him on the left of the circle and he slid his shot underneath Justin Scheffel.

Tutty’s corner flick got Limerick - defeated finalists in 2010 - back on terms for the second time early in the second half and he won it for his side with three minutes to go to send the trophy back to Shannonside.

For Portrush, they can look back on a brilliant season despite the loss to Limerick.

The Ports landed the Sussex Regiment Cup back on New Year’s Day when they beat rivals Ballynahinch 3-2 and also clinched the Senior Two title, again pipping the County Down team to top spot and automatic promotion to Ulster Senior One after a lengthy 13-year spell in Senior Two.