Pembroke showed remarkable character to secure their second successive victory of the men’s EY Hockey League, beating Monkstown 4-3 on Saturday at Serpentine Avenue.
The summer departures of Olympians Kirk Shimmins and Alan Sothern along with goalkeeper Mark Ingram to foreign shores had suggested they could be vulnerable this term. In addition, they were without key men Ronan Flannery, Harry Spain and Cedric Mushiete for this latest tie. However, new coach Paudie Carley, a Pembroke stalwart, is a man of serious will, and he looks to have imparted plenty of that attitude to his troops in the early weeks of the season.
A week earlier they came from a goal down to beat Lisnagarvey. This time they gave Town a 2-0 advantage in the first half but struck four times in 16 minutes to whip the points away from under their Dublin rivals’ noses.
Scott Sullivan and Geoff Garrett levelled it before newly installed skipper Stephen Sweetnam put Pembroke ahead. Teenager Cian Murphy had a coming of age performance which he capped with his goal for 4-2, rendering Guy Sarratt's late strike a consolation.
It leaves Pembroke top of the pile alongside Banbridge who, once again, left it late to nick the points against Cork C of I. They trailed for over 50 minutes as John Jermyn scored an early penalty stroke, the Munster men using a deep-lying counter-attack game to great effect.
But they could not see it through as Josh Moffett's equaliser nine minutes from the end, precipitated a collapse. Eugene Magee – who scored a final hooter winner a week ago – dragged in Bann's second and Moffett's deflection closed out a 3-1 win.
Glenanne have four points from six courtesy of their 2-1 win at Annadale, while Three Rock Rovers eventually broke down newly-promoted YMCA, with Daragh Walsh scoring twice in a 3-1 success.
For Rovers it was their last warm-up game ahead of their trip to Barcelona next weekend, where they will compete in Euro Hockey League Round 1 against Spain’s Junior FC and Racing Club de France.
Lisnagarvey also got off the mark, with Matthew Nelson scoring twice in a 4-0 defeat of Cookstown. Nelson was lining out for the first time in the same team as both of his brothers Daniel and Ben.