Three Rock Rovers became the first side to beat leaders Banbridge this season as they took advantage of an understrength visiting side to win 2-1 at Grange Road.
Ross Canning and Ben Walker netted before Johnny McKee replies as Rovers’ counter-attacking strategy plus Jamie Carr’s excellence between the sticks paid dividends.
Monkstown lost a belter of a tie 4-3 to fellow title challengers Cork Church of Ireland at Garryduff. C of I twice led via Andrew Power and John Jermyn with Richard Sykes replying, with Jermyn’s second pegged back by Davy Carson.
Simon Wolfe’s solo goal re-established a two-goal cushion but Sykes’ second setup a grandstand finale with C of I holding out.
With Lisnagarvey seeing off a UCD side shorn of eight regulars 2-0, it leaves just two points covering the top five of Bann, Garvey, Monkstown, C of I and Three Rock. At the other end, Glenanne and Pembroke put some distance between themselves and the bottom three with respective wins over Railway Union (5-4) and Instonians (3-2), who continue to prop up the table.
In Munster, Ashton picked up their second win of the season by coming from behind to defeat Limerick 2-1, while Fionn O’Leary signed off on his UCC hockey career with a goal in their 2-2 draw with C of I B.
The Irish Hockey Trophy wasn’t a happy hunting ground for Munster sides. Bandon - beaten finalists in the last three men’s deciders - again suffered heartbreak in going down to Queen’s University on strokes after a 2-2 draw. Cork C of I’s women, title winners in 2014 and 2015, suffered a shock defeat in Donegal as Raphoe claimed a 3-2 success.
UCC went top of the ladies Division 1 after hammering Ashton 9-0 while Bandon saw off Waterford 3-0.