MEN’S HOCKEY: Tight at the top as Monkstown and Cork Church of Ireland lose perfect records

Instonians' James Dowling celebrates scoring against Belfast Harlequins
Instonians' James Dowling celebrates scoring against Belfast Harlequins

Monkstown and Cork C of I’s perfect records both came to an end on Saturday afternoon in round four of the EY Hockey League.

It leaves four sides covered by just a single point at the head of the table.

Town have the slight edge thanks to their 0-0 draw with Three Rock Rovers at Grange Road from a side dominated by defences with precious few chances for either side despite an array of attacking talent on display.

For C of I, they succumbed 4-2 to Lisnagarvey on home turf to drop into a three-way share of second place.

Garvey won the tie thanks to a superb opening quarter that saw them build a three-goal advantage with Daniel Nelson, Timmy Cockram and Andy Williamson all snagging early goals.

CI fought back via Philip Brownlow and Simon Wolfe but Sean Murray’s solo goal ensured the Hillsborough side returned north with all three points in the bag.

Stephen Dowds was the Banbridge hero as he struck twice in the closing five minute against Pembroke to swap a 2-1 deficit for a 3-2 win.

The result lifts them up to nine points, level with Cork C of I and Lisnagarvey.

Earlier on, Pembroke had rode out plenty of pressure to forge a narrow lead courtesy of Patrick Good and Alan Sothern’s corner strike early in the fourth quarter.

James Dick’s four first half goals inspired Railway Union to a second successive victory, moving them into the top half of the table with a stunning 7-3 win over Cookstown at Steelweld Park.

He helped the Dubliners build a 4-1 half-time lead before a pair of Mark English goals extended the advantage out further.

Glenanne moved off the bottom of the table with their first win of the campaign, swapping places with Annadale thanks to a 3-1. After an early exchange of goals, Sam O’Connor and Stu Ronan scored in the second half to earn the points for the Tallaght side.

EY Hockey League results: Cookstown 3 (S Todd, P Thompson, S Smyth) Railway Union 7 (J Dick 4, M English 2, R Forrest); Cork C of I 2 (P Brownlow, S Wolfe) Lisnagarvey 4 (D Nelson, A Williamson, S Murray, T Cockram); Three Rock Rovers 0 Monkstown 0; Banbridge 3 (S Dowds 2, O Magee) Pembroke 2 (P Good, A Sothern); Glenanne 3 (S Boucher, S Ronan, S O’Connor) Annadale 1 (C Roberts)