Victories keep Monkstown and Pembroke in touch with Three Rock Rovers

Glenanne drop out of the top five with Railway Union replacing them

Conor Harte: Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Monkstown and Pembroke eased to big wins on Saturday to keep some life in the men's Leinster division one title race in the New Year when they will endeavour to overhaul Three Rock Rovers.

With six rounds of matches left to play in 2014, Rovers - who finished their pre-Christmas programme seven days earlier - lead the way by four points from Town who ran up a 5-0 win over Fingal.

It was reasonably comfortable fare as Richard Sykes’ penalty corner flick put them ahead inside the opening ten minutes.

Sykes then assisted Davy Carson to make it 2-0 at half-time. Three goals between the 40th and 46th minute - including one for the returning Gareth Watkins - killed off the game in wet and wild conditions with plenty of time remaining.


Similarly, Pembroke had a 3-1 lead against Glenanne at half-time before doubling that margin to 6-2 to be five points off the pace in third place.

Mick O'Connor was a real handful in that opening period, scoring twice while going very close to a third. Conor Harte added a pair of corners, adding to one a piece from Mark Loughrey and Craig Wilson.

The result saw Glenanne drop out of the top five with Railway Union, 1-0 winners over YMCA, replacing them.

Indeed, that battle for the Irish Hockey League places looks set to be an intriguing one with potentially four teams tussling for two places in the 2014/15 edition of the maquee competition.

Rob Abbott’s solo goal handed Railway that win to lift them to 19 points, level with UCD.

Corinthian, in seventh, are now on 16 points just one back from Glenanne. They got back into the mix with a surprisingly comfortable 5-1 win over Rathgar whose form had suggested they could cause an upset.

With Gowan Jones and Jethro Eustice both in South African playing for their homeland against Argentina, the reds were light two quality operators.

But Neil Young got them off to a flyer and they were 3-0 up at half-time before closing out a 5-1 win.

Rathgar end the first part of the season bottom of the pile but have a Leinster senior Mills Cup semi-final to look forward too following a Thursday night win over YMCA.

YM, meanwhile, are looking forward to a St Stephen's Day match-up with Glenanne in the Neville Cup final, the last remaining men's senior fixture of 2013.

Stephen Findlater

Stephen Findlater

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