Lisnagarvey strengthen grip in EY League

Banbridge's Jonny McKee and Monkstown's Karl Smith
Banbridge's Jonny McKee and Monkstown's Karl Smith

Lisnagarvey survived a fright in the last 10 minutes against Three Rock Rovers to strengthen their place atop the EY Hockey League, going nine points clear of the pack.

They looked to be in cruise control at Grange Road at 3-0 with nine minutes to go thanks to Paul Gleghorne, Neal Glassey and Paul Ritchie goals.

Rovers, though, scored twice in a minute before Jody Hosking went within inches of equalising. Timmy Cockram, however, made the game safe before Luke Madeley’s late corner made it 4-3.

The win – their tenth in succession – extended Garvey’s lead after second placed Monkstown and third placed Banbridge drew 1-1 at Havelock Park.

The goals came within a minute of each other, Eugene Magee’s corner rebound cancelled out by Gareth Watkins’ penalty stroke in the third quarter. It means the top four positions stayed as they were.

At the bottom, Cookstown pulled off a crucial 2-1 win over Annadale to give themselves a real chance of escaping the relegation playoff tie.

Jon Ames got the crucial touch from Greg Allen’s pass for the winner in the 48th minute, mere moments after Robbie McGuire had equalised for Dale.

The two sides meet once again next Saturday in a refixed tie which will be crucial for their respective hopes. Dale are in the automatic relegation slot on six points while Cookstown, after back-to-back wins, are on nine in the relegation playoff place.

They are within range of Cork C of I who remain without a win since October. They fell 2-1 to Railway Union on home turf to see their struggles continue. Railway move up to sixth place as a result.

Pembroke edged out Glenanne 3-2 to move up to seventh in the table as Jack Ryan’s fortuitous cross was turned into the Glens’ net by Stephen Brownlow four minutes from the end for the deciding goal.