Hanna hat-trick is decisive for Pembroke

 

Two important things happened this weekend. Pembroke's total destruction of Three Rock Rovers and Railway Union's defeat of Avoca have illustrated, finally, that a sea-change has taken place in Leinster hockey.

Avoca have lost their menacing edge due in part to retirements, injury and illness, and Rover's rebuilding policy looks as though they are going to have to accept some more heavy defeats before they again become a major player - i.e. a league-winning side.

While Railway deservedly receive the kudos for inflicting Avoca's third league defeat in succession, which has not happened to the club probably since the 1970s, it is Pembroke who are setting the pace. The title-holders, even at this early stage, are setting a trend that will strengthen as the season progresses. Coach Jonathan Cole, who as a player has been involved with Leinster's two most successful sides in recent times, YMCA and Avoca, looks now to become an important influence on the emergent Pembroke.

Darren Hanna, again showed why he is being lauded as a player to watch with a hat-trick at Serpentine Avenue. Along with strikes from Trevor Dunne and Stephen Stewart, the five goals inflicted on Rovers is not a tonic they are going to like and certainly not one they are used to taking.

Similarly teenager Brendan Parson's drive before half-time at Park Avenue gave the edge to home side Railway Union for a pleasing win.

Avoca, however, went on to miss a penalty in the second period when Trevor Dagg got under the ball from the spot just 15 minutes from the end of the match.

Corinthians, too, continue to impress. Tom Connell, Trevor Dunne and Colin Stewart grabbed a goal each against Trinity in a 3-0 victory. Corinthians' task, now that they have established a talented squad, is to maintain their high gearing for the rest of the season.

Glenanne, freescoring these days, added another six to their growing tally. YMCA responded with three goals in the open game but it was Glenanne's Stephen Bulter who left most satisfied with a hat-trick.