Garvey Seconds frittered away a two goal lead at Comber Road on Saturday to eventually lose 3-2 in extra time to a stubborn Monkstown side.
The Seconds began with great purpose piling pressure on the Monkstown defence and created a number of half chances in the opening 15 minutes, including two penalty corners but had nothing to show for their dominance.
Matthew Nelson had a fine opportunity in the 20th minute but the Monkstown goalkeeper was in great form, bringing off a number of excellent saves in the first 20 minutes.
Another Garvey set piece in the 25th minute was again straight at the keeper but in the 30th minute, captain Philip Stirling broke the deadlock with a typical opportunist goal, scoring from a narrow angle on the right of the circle.
He completed a great first 35 minutes for his team in the 33rd minute when he converted Garvey’s fifth penalty corner to set up a 2-0 advantage.
Garvey started the second period with a sixth penalty corner but again the Monkstown keeper was equal to the resulting drag-flick and from that point on, Monkstown began to force the pace and were rewarded in the 41st minute with a deflected goal after a strong cross from the right of the Garvey circle.
The Garvey midfield, which had been in total control during the first half, seemed to vanish as the visitors began to dominate proceedings.
They surged forward at every opportunity putting severe pressure on the now jittery Garvey defence and in the 48th minute scored the vital equaliser.
The goal came from their first penalty corner which crept in past Garvey keeper James Milliken and into the net.
Milliken was forced into a number of fine saves in quick succession as Monkstown worked for the winning goal but Garvey did have two penalty corner chances in the 67 and 69th minutes of a very exciting match.
Their efforts to grab the game were again scotched by the Monkstown keeper and at the final whistle the score-line was still 2-2.
Extra time consisted of 10 minutes each and the silver goal procedure but little of any note occurred in the first 10 minutes.
With four minutes remaining before the dreaded penalty strokes, Monksown scored the killer goal after a great block by James Milliken and the Seconds were left wondering how they lost a match they completely controlled in the first half.
The Seconds, however, are already Junior One League champions and still have two league games to play plus the Junior One League Cup, a competition which they now would be firm favourites to win.
They will be very disappointed not to have progressed to the Irish Junior Cup final and will be searching for reasons why they succumbed to Monkstown after such a great start.
Later on in the evening, Garvey entertained the Brazilian senior hockey squad at Comber Road. The visitors had not yet recorded a victory on their tour but due to poor finishing by the Garvey forwards, Brazil seized their opportunity to show their potential, scoring two good goals in the first half.
The large Garvey support including the Mayor of Lisburn , Thomas Beckett, expected a fight back by the home team but instead, Brazil scored an excellent third goal early in the second half and it was left to the Garvey team to salvage some pride with a goal of their own with just 10 minutes left in a game the visitors fully deserved to win.
Garvey can now look forward to their summer break and the prospect of the newly formed Irish Hockey League which commences early next season.