Men’s weekend round-up
The race for the four automatic places in next year’s expanded Irish Hockey League saw a first major split occur following YMCA’s 2-1 win over Railway Union in the Leinster senior league.
That scoreline has put a five-point wedge between the leading quartet of Monkstown, Pembroke, Glenanne and Three Rock Rovers with a big scrap for the playoff place on the horizon. For YM, Jamie Tobin grabbed the winner late on in spite of his side being reduced to ten men to stun Railway.
Earlier on, Mark English had the Park Avenue men in front from their first penalty corner but former Railway man Rob Devlin equalised, his maiden goal for YM.
It puts the two clubs level in fifth place on 12 points with Corinthian also on that mark albeit with an extra game played this term, setting up an intense battle for the respective clubs to try and qualify for next season’s marquee event.
Elsewhere, performance of the day came from UCD who held Three Rock Rovers to a 3-3 with former Rover Shane Madeley scoring late in the game to level it with his second of the game after Rovers had led via goals from Peter Blakeney, Jonny Bruton and Alan White.
It was quite a turnaround from seven days ago when Rovers beat UCD 5-1 and it lifts them into eighth place in the table.
Pembroke are three points back courtesy of a 2-1 win over Corinthian, Tim Hill and Maurice Elliott on the mark, while Glenanne are up to third courtesy of a 5-1 victory against Avoca.
The returning Eddie O’Malley scored his first goals of the campaign after a lengthy recovery period from injury, getting his side up and running when he converted a Stuart Ronan pull back after excellent work down the right by Enda Tucker and Clive Kennedy.
Stephen Brownlow made it two, a counter attack was broken down in midfield but a quick free from Richie Shaw found Brownlow in the D who he rounded the keeper and finished on the reverse.
Avoca had the only corner of the first half but the returning Gareth Carragher saved comfortably. The Blackrock side continued to sit deep and counter and they got a goal back 10 minutes into the second half. A move down the right found Cliff Bailey in the circle who in turn squared it for Maxi Tixe to slap home first time.
Glenanne reclaimed their two goal lead within five minutes, O’Malley scoring his second from a mere four yards after a scrabble in the D. Brownlow got his second and Glenanne’s 4th from play, another fine finish on his reverse before Enda Tucker rounded off the scored on the hooter with a corner deflection.
Monkstown continue to set the pace thanks to a Richard Sykes hat trick. The league’s highest scorer saw his treble augmented by Davy Carson to ensure a 4-0 success against Rathgar.In division two, Three Rock II continued their good form in the league with a third successive win, David Storey and Freddie Morris on the mark in a 2-0 win over Pembroke II to move into a three-way share at the top.
Monkstown II have the slight edge, though, with a game in hand on Rovers and Pembroke. Pembroke and Town meet next Sunday in a refixed tie.
In the Irish Hockey Trophy, Clontarf, Kilkenny and Fingal all advanced to the next phase of the competition with wins on Saturday.
Tarf beat Bangor 3-1 but will need to head even further north in the quarter-finals where they have been drawn to play Portrush. Kilkenny will travel to Fingal after their victory over Limerick in round one.
The ALSAA men were 5-1 victors at Ashton in Cork. Jeremy McKeever nabbed a hat trick with Shane Dempsey and Ben Chillingworth also scoring.
Men’s Leinster Division One: YMCA 2 (R Devlin, J Tobin) Railway Union 1 (M English); Pembroke 2 (T Hill, M Elliott) Corinthian 1 (M Richard); Rathgar 0 Monkstown 4 (R Sykes 3, D Carson); Glenanne 5 (E O’Malley 2, S Brownlow 2, E Tucker) Avoca 1 (M Tixe); Three Rock Rovers 3 (P Blakeney, J Bruton, A White) UCD 3 (S Madeley 2, K Shimmins)
Division Two: Three Rock Rovers II 2 (D Storey, F Morris) Pembroke II 0
Irish Hockey Trophy: Bangor 1 Clontarf 3 (L Hayden, R Forrest, N Maxwell); Catholic Institute 0 South Antrim 8; Kilkenny 4 (D O’Gorman 2, E Walshe, B Du Preez) Limerick 1; Antrim 0 North Down 4; Ashton 1 Fingal 5 (J McKeever 3, B Chillingworth, S Dempsey); Queen’s 1 Portrush 2; Bandon 4 Portadown 1
Quarter-final draw (January 24): Fingal v Kilkenny; North Down v Bandon; Portrush v Clontarf; Raphoe v South Antrim