C of I and Quins record vital victories to boost League play-off hopes

CORK C of I and Harlequins both picked up significant victories in their respective bids to become the first Munster sides to reach the men’s Irish Hockey League play-offs last Saturday on home soil.

C of I move into a three-way share of second place going into the three-month break before the penultimate round of matches following their 2-1 win over YMCA.

Gary Wilkinson’s early strike put them in the ascendancy before David Robinson levelled matters from a series of penalty corners.

But Philip Smith’s penalty stroke in the 45th minute took the win and they are now level with YM and Annadale.

Lisnagarvey look out of sight following a third successive win, taking an edgy 2-0 win over Three Rock Rovers to go three points clear at the top of Pool B.

Pembroke were stunned by two Peter Caruth goals in the last two minutes as Annadale recorded a spectacular 4-2 victory to leave the two-time champions floundering in fifth place.

In Pool A, Paul Lombard capped a brilliant Cork Harlequins’ comeback as they came from 2-0 down to best Instonians and get back in contention for an IHL semi-final place.

For Inst, in combination with a two-point penalty, it leaves them virtually out of the competition despite their heroics against Glenanne last week.

John Watson and William Robinson had given the northern side a healthy advantage but Lombard grabbed a lifeline 18 minutes from time.

Mark Black levelled before Lombard made it 3-2 in a stunning eight-minute spell. It gives Quins a boost but they still have ground to make up on leading trio Cookstown, Banbridge and Monkstown.

Cookstown became the first side to gain a bonus point win at Glenanne Park with a 5-2 win while Bann inflicted a first defeat on Monkstown despite Kyle Good’s first goal since returning from long-term injury.

On the women’s side, Catholic Institute are among a quartet of sides battling for Pool A semi-final places when the competition resumes in February.

Katie Campbell’s solo strike put them in major contention as they dismissed Old Alex at Rosbrien.

She netted a well-worked goal, a move which began from a picture perfect pass out of defence from Christine O’Shea via Eimear Cregan to Campbell to finish off. Along with Insta, Hermes, UCD and Pegasus are all within one point of top spot.

Cork Harlequins tied 1-1 with Lurgan but look to be out of the Pool B running.

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