Irish Hockey League: Lisnagarvey one win away from title

James Lorimer of Lisnagarvey in action against David Quinn of Pembroke Wanderers
James Lorimer of Lisnagarvey in action against David Quinn of Pembroke Wanderers

Lisnagarvey are one victory away from clinching the All Ireland League title after beating Pembroke Wanderers 3-2 at Comber Road for a 12th straight win.

Cookstown's 4-0 win over Cork C of I means the Ulster side move out of the bottom two for the first time.

Annadale are at the foot of the table after a 5-2 home defeat by Banbridge.

In the women's league Pegasus and Railway Union boosted their end-of-season play-off qualification hopes by recording successes on Saturday.

Champions Hermes have already booked their place in the season finale.

Lisnagarvey's winning run towards the title continued as two goals from Michael Watt in the last 90 seconds of the first half and one after the break from Andy Williamson was enough to see of the challenge of Pembroke Wanderers, despite conceding two late goals in a 3-2 victory.

Lisnagarvey closing in on title

With four games remaining Garvey's lead over Monkstown, who beat Railway Union 1-0 thanks to a goal from Jonny Bruton, is 11 points so they could clinch the title in three weeks time at Annadale.

Before that the attention of the top two sides in the league will be on the final of the Irish Senior Cup next Sunday in Dublin.

Third place Banbridge put a little daylight between themselves and the other sides chasing a top three finish with a 5-2 win at Annadale with Irish international Eugene Magee scoring a hat-trick.

Bann are now five points clear of Three Rock Rovers who lost 2-0 at Glenanne and look set to clinch one of the play-off places.

Annadale returned to the bottom of the table, two points behind Cork C of I, who slipped into the relegation play-off position after losing 4-0 at Cookstown, a result that saw the Ulster side move out of relegation trouble for the first time this season.

Ryan Millar scored twice with Simon Todd and Jon Ames getting the others in a hugely important win for Stephen Cuddy's side.

Megan Frazer of Ulster Elks in action against Chloe Watkins of Hermes
Megan Frazer of Ulster Elks in action against Chloe Watkins of Hermes

It was the penultimate round of matches in the women's league and Pegasus moved up to second place after a 5-1 win at UCC with Suzanne Ferris scoring twice and the other goals coming from Hannah McMillan, Pamela Glass and Alex Speers.

Railway Union are two points behind the Belfast side in third place after a 6-0 success against Greenfields and they have a game in hand when they face Ards on Sunday.

The Ulster Elks dropped to fourth after they slumped to a 7-0 home defeat at the hands of Hermes as the Dublin's side all-international forward line got on the scoresheet with Nikki Evans grabbing a hat-trick, Chloe Watkins scoring twice and Anna O'Flanagan and Naomi Carroll adding the others - Carroll's effort one of the goals of the season as the ex-Clare camogie player showed off all of her skills to juggle the ball before firing it on the volley high into the net.

The Elks route to the play-off finals must surely now lie with next Sunday's Irish Cup final against Ards where the winners will take the final spot.

With UCC's defeat, Ards had the chance to secure their All Ireland league place for next season but they lost 3-1 at home to Pembroke Wanderers with Chloe Brown getting the Ards goal.

UCD kept their hopes of a top three finish alive with a 4-3 victory at Cork Harlequins.