The last time an EY Hockey League campaign was completed, back in the dim and distant past of April 2019, Pembroke Wanderers had to settle for a fifth -place finish.
Their ambitions will be considerably loftier this time around, their 7-0 win over Cork Harlequins on Saturday stretching their lead at the top of the table to seven points.
Granted, Pegasus and Old Alexandra have a game in hand, neither of them in action at the weekend, but Pembroke are looking in fine fettle, this their sixth win in a row, a run that has seen them score 17 goals while conceding just two.
They were without a string of regulars on Saturday too, goalkeeper Emma Buckley, Emily Beatty, Issy Delamer and Tori Wensley among those who were unavailable for their last Hockey League game until the new year, but bottom club Harlequins were still no match for them.
Pembroke were 3-0 up by half-time, captain Gillian Pinder involved in all of the goals, scoring the first before setting up Ciara Moroney for the second and then having the rebound from her saved effort turned home by Ali Griffin. Eanna Horan made it 4-0 in the third quarter before Rachel O'Brien, Orla Macken and Griffin again completed the rout in the final period.
Muckross, meanwhile, remain stuck on one point, along with Cork Harlequins, after losing 2-1 away to Belfast Harlequins who have now opened a five -point gap between themselves and the bottom two.
After a scoreless first half, Katherine Welshman and Jenna Watt put the Belfast side on course for ending a six-game losing streak, Leila O'Byrne scoring what proved to be a consolation goal for the visitors on 50 minutes.
Hockey League – Division One: Belfast Harlequins 2 (K Welshman, J Watt), Muckross 1 (L O'Byrne); Pembroke Wanderers 7 (G Pinder, C Moroney, A Griffin 2, E Horan, R O'Brien, O Macken), Cork Harlequins 0. Division Two – Pool One: Ards 4 (F Brown 2, E McKinley, E Robinson), Trinity 0; Galway 0, UCC 3 (A O'Mahony, E O'Sullivan, C Perdue). Pool Two: Lurgan 0, NUIG 0; Monkstown 4 (A O'Flanagan 2, E Kealy, C O'Reilly), Queens 1 (A Jebb).