Three Rock Rovers come from behind to qualify for IHL semi-finals

Elsewhere, Banbridge scored three in the last 10 minutes to defeat Railway Union

 Mitch Darling returned from international duty and played a major role in Three Rock Rovers’ comeback win over Lisnagarvey. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Mitch Darling returned from international duty and played a major role in Three Rock Rovers’ comeback win over Lisnagarvey. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

 

Three Rock Rovers became the first men’s side to qualify for the semi-finals of the Irish Hockey League as they beat Lisnagarvey 4-2 in Hillsborough on Saturday to remain the sole side with a perfect record.

For Three Rock player-coach Joe Brennan, the win was all the more impressive given they trailed 2-0 after seven minutes. Andy Williamson got Garvey off to a flying start, nicking in after just 19 seconds and he nabbed his second soon after from close range.

But Rovers were level by half-time as Mitch Darling and Jonny Bruton’s return from international duty played a big part. The former was the creator both times, his shot rebounded to Bruton for the first, while the second came off an excellent left-wing interchange to make it 2-2 at the break.

And, despite a fine performance from Garvey goalkeeper John Tormey, Three Rock pulled clear in the second half via Peter Blakeney’s rocket and Darling’s deserved goal.

Banbridge strengthened their bid for a semi-final spot with a 3-1 win at Railway Union. Railway led for a long time through Mark English’s corner goal but Bann scored three in the final 10 minutes to win it.

Pool A looks a three-horse race between Monkstown, Pembroke and Instonians after all recorded wins.

Town won 4-0 at UCC while Pembroke beat Annadale by the same scoreline. Inst just held off Cookstown 2-1 to stay in the running for a first ever semi-final spot.

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