With Ireland’s senior men in Belgium continuing their World Cup preparations, just two men’s EY Hockey League matches were on the agenda with Glenanne and Pembroke making big moves.
The Glens, the reigning league champions, moved into top spot on goal difference courtesy of a 3-1 win over Annadale.
A trio of penalty corner drag-flicks did the damage. Shannon Boucher opened up the scoring in the fifth minute as his shot deceived Jonny Moore. Ryan Burgess continued his fine run of form to tie the game at 1-1 but second half strikes from Cedric Jakobi and Boucher ensured they had a little breathing room at the end.
Pembroke produced a remarkable comeback to break Cookstown hearts, coming back from 2-0 down to win at Steelweld Park by the odd goal in five.
Cookstown had a superb start, Michael Kerr fizzing in a corner before Greg Allen volleyed in the second. Stephen Sweetnam gave Pembroke a lifeline before Greg Chambers squeezed in the second before Cian Murphy finished off a counter to win the game 3-2.
The win moves Pembroke up to third place in the table and they can move into a share at the top with Glenanne and Banbridge should they win against YMCA next weekend in the only game on the agenda.
Only one other EYHL tie is scheduled to be played before Christmas, the meeting of Cork C of I and Annadale on December 1st due to the World Cup.
EY Hockey League Results: Glenanne 3 (S Boucher 2, C Jakobi) Annadale 1 (R Burgess); Cookstown 2 (M Kerr, G Allen) Pembroke 3 (S Sweetnam, G Chambers, C Murphy).
Loreto and Pegasus win
Loreto and Pegasus went stride for stride at the top of the women’s EY Hockey League as they recorded hard fought wins over Old Alex and Cork Harlequins.
Loreto trailed at half-time against Alex to an early Emma Russell goal but World Cup stars Hannah Matthews and Ali Meeke both scored for the second week running to nick a 2-1 win result.
Pegasus were forced to soak up a huge amount of pressure in Cork but two early Taite Doherty goals put them on course for a 4-2 success. Cliodhna Sargent pulled one back from the penalty spot but Shirley McCay made it 3-1 in similar style.
Emily O’Leary popped home Quins second of the day with still over half an hour to play but player of the match Alex Speers won it with some superb close-in skills with 12 minutes to go.
UCD moved back up to third place with a 3-1 win over Pembroke. First half goals from Michelle Carey and Nina Heisterkamp set them rolling before Pembroke pushed them back in the third quarter, Sinead Loughran making 2-1.
However, Leah McGuire was having an excellent game in the UCD defence and she crowned the win with a penalty corner strike.
That win saw them jump ahead of Belfast Harlequins who had beaten Ards 3-1 in midweek to move into the top three as Jenny McAuley and Lizzie Colvin scored in the last five minutes.
Railway Union put daylight between themselves and the relegation places with a 2-0 win over Muckross. Hannah de Burgh Whyte’s eighth minute corner put them in front early on before Katie Fearson sealed the points, bundling home Kate Lloyd’s cross in the second half.
EY Hockey League Results:
Wednesday: Belfast Harlequins 3 (J Watt, J McAuley, L Colvin) Ards 1 (C Adams)
Saturday: Cork Harlequins 2 (C Sargent, E O’Leary) Pegasus 4 (T Doherty 2, A Speers, S McCay); Muckross 0 Railway Union 2 (H de Burgh Whyte, K Fearon); Old Alexandra 1 (E Russell) Loreto 2 (A Meeke, H Matthews); UCD 3 (M Carey, N Heisterkamp, L McGuire) Pembroke 1 (S Loughran)
Next Saturday’s fixtures (November 17): Cork Harlequins v Muckross, 1.05pm, Farmers’ Cross; Ards v Pembroke, 2.30pm, Londonderry Park; Loreto v Belfast Harlequins, 2.50pm, Three Rock Rovers; UCD v Railway Union, 2.50pm, Belfield; Pegasus v Old Alex, 4pm, Queens