Three Rock remain on course

 

WHILE Avoca mounted sufficient force to nudge home three goals without reply from Pembroke Wanderers at Rathdown on Saturday, Three Rock Rovers - with a hat-trick by Gordan Elliott against Portrane at Grange Road - remained resolutely on course for the Leinster Senior League laurels.

Three Rock, indeed, may keep their unbeaten record all the way. They seemed vulnerable earlier in the season but the team is now more rounded, not depending so much on the senior international figures. This was illustrated on Saturday when Elliott deftly took his three chances, with the third goal coming from a measured cross by another member of the younger school, Gary Ringwood. At the back, too, Mark Henderson is operating with assurance.

If Avoca now have the most depth in their squad, it must still be honed for the final stages of the Irish Senior Cup. Before applying total concentration to closing down Pembroke, Stephen Stewart or Francis de Rosa could well have stolen the lead. But although Andy Cooke gave little away to Robbie Ryan, there was much more impetus from Avoca as a whole. Rory Kirwan pushed them in front before the interval and from the first assault of the second half, Mark Cullen was not obliged to stretch himself too strenuously to increase the margin.

Perhaps Avoca may yet surprise Holywood (or ultimately Lisnagarvey) with their new-found short-corner effectiveness. Philip Sarratt came off the bench to complete Pembroke's execution. There could also be a threat from Anton Scott, easing his way back to the touches which earned him a first Ireland cap against Pakistan not so long ago.

Supporters of Corinthians, hosts that memorable international night when Albert Reynolds opened their new pitch at Whitechurch Park, enjoyed a 3-2 win over Glenanne on Saturday. Two goals snapped up by Colin Stewart were the deciding factor.

Railway Union roused themselves to beat YMCA 3-1 at Wesley where Stephen Moulton, Paul O'Brien (penalty) and Ger O'Brien found the target in the final quarter after Quentin Heaney had put the home side ahead. Whether Railway can keep Pembroke out of third place remains to be seen and Glenanne are also keen on a Top Four spot.

As regards relegation, YMCA were relieved to hear that Carlow had been held to a 1-1 draw by Kilkenny, for whom George Williams has returned from Australia too late to take them off the bottom rung. It seems that Carlow, beaten 4-0 by Pembroke in Dublin yesterday, will also lose their first-division status. In the promotion stakes, Dessie Farrell continues to spur St Brendan's/Phoenix Park in their pursuit of Monkstown and UCD.