Star, East Lismore emerge victorious from semi-finals
STAR defeated Coraki in a titanic tussle while East Lismore saw off Ballina on a thrilling day of FNC men's hockey A-grade semi-finals.
Star defeated Coraki 4-2 in a pulsating battle during which six players were dismissed, while Easts vanquished Ballina by the same scoreline in a feisty affair.
Easts and Ballina went toe to toe until the 27th minute when Brent Russ scored to give Easts the lead.
Ballina fought back and applied pressure, but was unable to equalise before the break. and almost levelled. Only Hughes in goal for Easts denied them.
Easts' Isaac Layton scored five minutes into the half to double his side's lead, before Russ made it three when he scooped a shot over the defence.
Scott Hamilton dragged one back for Ballina when he converted a penalty corner two minutes later, before Nathan Fryer further cut the deficit with another strike.
East Lismore was rattled as Ballina applied the pressure, but claimed victory in the minor final when Brad Hughes stole a ball and scored to give Easts a two-goal cushion and seal the win.
The major semi-final was a similarly entertaining affair. Mitch Carter finished off a penalty corner rebound for Star after eight minutes to give his side a 1-0 lead. There was plenty of effort but no gain for either side for the rest of the half.
The second period was more of the same for the first eight minutes, but then Matt Harmon fired a brilliant shot past Horne in goal to put Coraki 2-0 up.
A string of red cards followed as players on both sides lost their cool before a McGrath double brought Coraki back into the match. Star was not to be denied though, and claimed victory courtesy of two late goals.