Railway Union defeat sees top four pull away in Leinster Senior League

IHL qualification play-off scrap ahead for Railway, Corinthians and YMCA

Mark English opened the scoring for Railway but YMCA turned it around to leave the clubs level in the table. Photograph: INPHO/Presseye/Rowland White

The race for the four automatic places in next year's expanded Irish Hockey League have become more clear cut 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 10 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.

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It puts the two clubs level in fifth place on 12 points with Corinthians, who have 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, the 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.

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.

Sykes hat-trick

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.

Pembroke are three points back courtesy of a 2-1 win over Corinthians, 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 for Glenanne after a lengthy recovery period from injury.

Stephen Findlater

Stephen Findlater

Stephen Findlater is a contributor to The Irish Times writing about hockey