Banbridge 1 (Hugh McShane) Pembroke 2 (Conor Harte, Alan Sothern)
Pembroke began their IHL defence with victory, surviving a tense closing quarter to secure three points and maintain their perfect run to date in all competitions.
Bann pick up a losing bonus point but start the group on the back foot and now face a vital fixture against Instonians in round two of games to revive a return to the semi-finals.
The ‘Broke held sway for the majority of the first half though had to wait until the final hooter before breaking the deadlock when Conor Harte fired in a corner, finally breaking down a Scott McCandless marshalled defence.
Bruce McCandless and Dermy Reay had gone close early on but Pembroke moved two clear in the 37th minute when Alan Sothern knocked in his eighth goal in seven days.
Hugh McShane pulled one back inside the third quarter to set up a grandstand final 17 and a half minutes. Matthew Smyth almost nicked a draw but his drag-flick was spectacularly saved by David Harte to maintain the winning margin for Pembroke.
Instonians 4 (Chris Kirk 2, William Robinson, Stuart McWilliams) Monkstown 1 (Andrew Ward)
Instonians took the early initiative in Pool A with a comprehensive 4-1 win over Monkstown, earning a bonus point in the process.
Set-piece specialist William Robinson netted inside two minutes while Stuart McWilliams made it 2-0 in the ninth from a second short-corner.
Gareth Watkins was a threat from play and drew two excellent saves from Nigel Skillen but the game was as good as killed when Chris Kirk slotted in a third goal in the 28th minute after racing in from the left wing.
He added his personal second in the 48th minute to copper-fasten the bonus point before Andrew Ward got a consolation goal a minute from time.
Cork Harlequins 0 Corinthian 2 (Darren Kimfley, Davy Carson)
The persistent southern rain meant Harlequins had to forego home advantage, switching their tie to Garryduff. Deprived of home comforts, they succumbed to a masterful Corinthian defensive performance as they counter-attacked with panache to out-manoeuvre the Cork side.
Darren Kimfley scored the reds first ever IHL goal inside two minutes when he took in Davy Carson’s pass and rifled over Reinout Mensink.
And Carson doubled the difference in the 23rd minute when he profited from Paul Murray’s mistake on the left flank and he penetrated the circle before beating Mensink at the near post.
Despite some wonderful trickery from Paul Lombard, Quins found clear openings hard to come by, and rarely threatened the Corinthian goal despite monopolising possession in the second half – a late yellow card for David Lombard just about summed up their day.
Glenanne 2 (Shane O’Donoghue, Eddie O’Malley) Cookstown 3 (Timmy Smyth, Ian Sloan, Colin Donaldson)
Cookstown broke their Glenanne hoodoo to earn a first IHL win at the sixth attempt to deservedly take the spoils while the Tallaght club must be content with a single bonus point.
Ian Hughes won the corner duel with the returning Stephen Butler, keeping out seven of eight set-pieces for the Tyrone side in the game as Ian Sloan popped up to score the winner late on.
Earlier, Stephen Sloan and Timmy Smyth’s brilliance unlocked the Glens defence as they broke from their own 25 to eventually score via a defender’s stick in the second quarter.
Ian Sloan’s corner goal made it 2-0 to the Town but Eddie O’Malley gave the Glens a lifeline when Graham Shaw’s surge created the opportunity.
And Shane O’Donoghue scored a drag-flick from a Brennan switched corner to earn parity. The Glens had a stroke decision down-graded to a corner which went a begging before Donaldson popped up with the winner and three points.
TRR 2 (Peter Blakeney 2) Cork C of I 2 (John Jermyn, Nick Burns)
Three Rock Rovers salvaged a last-gasp draw at Grange Road, recovering from 2-0 down to level with scarcely 20 seconds left to deny Cork C of I a revenge win.
Rovers blitzed the Garryduff side last Spring but, with both sides fielding much changed squads, it was C of I who started the stronger.
John Jermyn scored an absolute thunderbolt drag-flick in the 12th minute to deservedly give the visitors the lead.
But after an early bout of lively action, the tie fell into a lull with Alex Moffett and Jermyn’s green-card sin-binnings two of the more noteworthy moments.
A potential own goal was chalked off for a push on a C of I defender while a couple of Rovers’ corners were easily dealt with.
It was cagey affair with little between the sides though Andy Herbert and Philly Smith stood out for C of I in keeping the hosts at bay.
And from that base, Nick Burns doubled the lead within a minute of the turnaround.
Jermyn drew a smart save from Stephen West with his corner effort before Pierre de Voux produced an immaculate steal to deny Alec Moffett.
With the intensity suitably raised, Pieter Steins-Bisschop drew the save of the day from Billy Lynch when he leapt off the ground from an initial block to palm a bunt a rising reverse over the bar.
But Rovers were piling forward. Sven Galjaardt was a constant threat especially along the endline but was unable to find a vital touch from two fine runs.
And a lifeline was earned 12 minutes from time when an off-kilter corner bounced up to Peter Blakeney to tap in unmarked on the right post for 2-1. It drew C of I from their shell and Stephen Parker flashed a flick wide from six yards.
But a goal was more likely to come at the other end. Mick Maguire fizzed over a reverse-stick effort while Galjaardt’s one-on-one was swept away.
He made one last dart down the endline in the final minute and Blakeney was on hand to squeeze under Lynch to steal two points.
Annadale 2 (Ian Hamilton 2) Lisnagarvey 4 (Greg Thompson 2, Mark Raphael, Timmy Cockram)
The experience of Mark Raphael and Brian Waring gave Lisnagarvey the upper hand as they claimed the Ulster derby with comfort in the Sunday IHL game with Dale keeper Jonny Moore proving his side’s busiest player all game.
Garvey opened the scoring in the eighth minute when Raphael followed up a rebound from Timmy Cockram’s drag flick. Annadale equalised eight minutes later viw Ian Hamilton’s corner strike.
But the Lough Moss hosts were 3-1 down by the end of the second quarter as Timmy Cockram’s reverse and Greg Thompson’s rebound smash gave Gar
vey a comfortable advantage.
Hamilton scored his second drag flick to tighten the game up only for Thompson to get his second goal for Garvey to make it 4-2 at the start of the final quarter.