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Monday 11 December 2017

Pembroke control their title destiny

A WIN for Pembroke over Three Rock Rovers next Sunday will hand them hockey's Leinster Division 1 men's title in one of the most closely contested campaigns for years.

Should they falter, the only team capable of taking advantage is Corinthian, currently four points behind, who must win both their remaining matches against Glenanne and Clontarf.

Corinthian will rue their missed chances after playing out a scoreless draw against Rovers last weekend. Pembroke, by contrast, saw off the challenge of great rivals Glenanne by beating them 4-1. A day earlier, the Glens had lost 3-5 at home to Fingal. In the second half, Fingal frittered away a 2-0 lead in a bad-tempered match to go down 3-2, after a Graham Shaw hat-trick, before scoring three goals in the final 10 minutes.

While out of the league, the Tallaght side still has hopes of winning the Irish Senior Cup. They put out both Pembroke and Corinthians on their way to the semi-finals, where they will face Rock Rovers.

Defending champions Loreto were the big losers when the final round-robin matches in the women's Irish Hockey League took place at the weekend. Loreto lost by two goals to Hermes, with Elaine O'Neill and Chloe Watkins the scorers.

Hermes now play last season's Leinster champions Railway Union in the semi-finals on May 15. Railway maintained their perfect record in the league when they snatched a 5-4 win against Pembroke thanks to a last- gasp goal from Jean McDonnell.

Ulster champions Pegasus will play Munster champions Cork Harlequins in the other semi-final.

At Leinster level, Hermes and Railway are locked together on 37 points as the league reaches its final stages. Railway have a difficult draw against Pembroke on Saturday, while Hermes play Corinthian and Trinity.

p Sign up to the Irish Hockey Local Lotto and you could scoop a €1,000 Euro Jackpot or one of our two lucky-dip prizes. First draw is at the ESB and Men's Senior Interpros on Sunday, March 28 in Grange Road, Dublin; further draws are every Tuesday from April 6. Sign up at www.hockey.ie.

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