Three Rock Rovers top EY Hockey League after two wins
Victories over Pembroke and Instonians see Rovers move one point ahead of Banbridge
Mitch Darling: the Ireland international scored twice for Three Rock Rovers in win over Instonians. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
The victories move them a point ahead of Banbridge – who do have a game in hand – and means they have come a long way from 18 months ago when Niall Denham’s side’s initial ambition was to avoid a relegation scrap.
His young side got the rub of the green against Pembroke, winning 4-3 with Luke Madeley scoring with the last touch of the game from a hotly disputed penalty corner.
Earlier, Rovers had led 3-0 inside 19 minutes only to be pegged back with 25 minutes to go. Sunday’s win over Instonians was a far simpler affair, Mitch Darling scoring twice in a 4-1 victory at Shaw’s Bridge.
Rovers will be eyeing a potential four-point lead next week as they line out against Railway Union with Banbridge not in league action due to the Irish Senior Cup final.
It fell short of a dream weekend for Rovers, however, as their second team lost out to Cork C of I in the Irish Junior Cup final as first-half goals from David Herbert, Richard Lynch and Simon Dring earned a 3-1 result.
Back in the EY league, Banbridge’s title charge did get a boost as they beat Cork C of I’s firsts 2-1 with Fraser Mills scoring the winner with 10 minutes to go in Garryduff.
Lisnagarvey close in on a Champions Trophy place thanks to their 4-0 win over Glenanne while Monkstown moved back into the top four with an 8-1 success against UCD.
At the bottom, Instonians look doomed following their Rovers defeat and a 6-0 loss to Railway Union who move out of the relegation playoff place.