Three Rock Rovers moved top of the men’s EY Hockey League with back-to-back victories over the weekend, winning a controversial tie with Pembroke on Saturday before running up a 4-1 victory over Instonians.
It means they lead the way from Banbridge by a point but have played a game extra than the Co Down side.
Rovers’s Saturday win came courtesy of a last minute penalty corner goal from Luke Madeley, dragging home from a hotly debated set piece.
Sunday’s win was a simpler affair, Mitch Darling scoring twice in a 4-1 result.
For Inst, that compounded a rough weekend, falling 6-0 on Saturday to Railway Union, leaving them seven points adrift at the bottom with only four games left.
Banbridge summoned a late winner, too, as they beat Cork C of I 2-1 in Garryduff with Fraser Mills grabbing the vital goal.
The visitors got off to a flying start when with barely a minute on the clock Dane Ward pounced on a loose ball to score past Billy Lynch.
Shrew Power had the chance for a quick equaliser but, with Gareth Lennox beaten, he somehow missed the target and found the side netting.
CI started the second quarter on the front foot and took the game to the visitors who were happy to sit back and soak up the pressure.
In the 21st minute, however, the hosts were awarded a penalty corner which saw Julian Dale’s flick beat Lennox via a deflection off a man on the line, 1-1 at half-time.
The third quarter proved a quiet affair, setting up a big finish with both sides needing victory for their respective plights.
The key moment came in the 60th minute with some quick interplay setting up Mills to tuck away the winner – C of I argued for a free on halfway when they believed they right of way in the build-up but their complaints fell on deaf ears.
The Cork side did push on in the closing phases with Philip Brownlow, Philip Sweetnam and Stephen Sweetnam working for an equaliser.
But two cards for dissent stymied their progress, reducing them to nine players.
They did have a series of four corners at the end but Lennox made a match-winning save from David Hobbs to claim the laurels.
The result gave Monkstown the chance to return to the top four and they did so in emphatic style, hammering UCD 8-1 with seven different scorers on the mark.
Lisnagarvey stay in third place, four points off leaders Rovers, thanks to a 4-0 win over Glenanne at Comber Road with James Lorimer netting a double.
Next week sees a reduced schedule with only three games on the card due to Sunday’s Irish Senior Cup final between Monkstown and Banbridge.