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Banbridge get in the groove ahead of big Euro series

By Graham Hamilton

Banbridge warmed up nicely for this weekend's European series at their Havelock Park base when they beat Instonians 4-1 in Saturday's Ulster derby in the EY Irish Hockey League.

It means Mark Tumilty's lads remain on the heels of Lisnagarvey and Monkstown - who have won all their three games to date - and it sets them up for the visit of 12 leading European clubs for the first round of the EuroHockey League.

Tumilty knows they are in a difficult pool with Belgium's Royal Leopold and France's Saint Germain, but the comfortable win will give them some encouragement for what lies ahead.

It was Hugh McShane who rounded the keeper to put Bann ahead against Instonians and Fraser Mills added the second as they took control in the first quarter.

The third came from Eugene Magee when a penalty corner was switched left, and Matthew Allister got his first in Bann colours when he intercepted a clearance and bust into the circle to add the fourth.

Stephen Kelso scored a late consolation but newly promoted Inst now lie bottom after what has been a particularly difficult start to their programme.

Champions Garvey meanwhile struggled to see off Pembroke in Dublin, but the 2-1 success keeps them ticking along at the top.

Three penalty strokes were awarded in this game, with Garvey skipper Daniel Buser converting his to add to James Lorimer's early goal.

But international striker Alan Sothern converted just one from two awards and so Pembroke missed the chance of a point.

There's no stopping Monkstown who put eight past Railway Union, with Gareth Watkins, Lee Cole and Kyle Good each getting a brace.

And John Jermyn and Julian Dale both grabbed hat-tricks as Cork C of I put eight past UCD.

In the other game Three Rock edged past Glenanne 2-0.

Meanwhile Cookstown, and Greg Allen in particular, are scoring for fun at the moment, with 39 from five games to date.

The Tyrone side slammed eight past North Down in the Ulster Premier League to add to the three against Annadale last week and the 28 from the three Kirk Cup pool phase.

Allen struck four times against the Comber side to take his season's tally to 12 already, while Stuart Smyth, Jonathan Ames, Michael Kerr and Mark Crooks completed the scoring.

Annadale are also looking good following their 3-0 success at Portadown where player-coach Peter Caruth was again on the scoresheet. But it's Kilkeel at the top with two wins from two, with David Finlay and Johnny Aiken scoring the goals in a 2-0 win at Belfast Harlequins.

Simon Todd's return to Mossley has given them a boost and he bagged two as they beat Newry 4-0 while Campbellians started life in the top flight with a 2-1 win over Raphoe.

EY Irish Hockey League: Banbridge 4 (E Magee, M Allister, H McShane, F Mills) Instonians 1 (S Kelso); Pembroke Wanderers1 (A Sothern) Lisnagarvey 2 (J Lorimer, D Buser); Monkstown 8 (G Watkins 2, K Good 2, L Cole 2, S Cole, G Cole) Railway Union 1 (M Nowakowski); Cork C of I 8 (J Jermyn 3, J Dale 3, S Parker, P Sweetnam) UCD 1 (B Campbell); Three Rock Rovers 2 (L Madeley, K Mullins) Glenanne 0

Ulster Premier League: Portadown 0 Annadale 3 (P Caruth, M Crookshanks, J Cox); Cookstown 8 (G Allen 4, S Smyth, J Ames, M Kerr, M Crooks) North Down 0; Mossley 4 (S Todd 2, J Hill, J Robinson) Newry 0; Campbellians 2 (M Johnston, J Hall) Raphoe 1 (A Tinney); Belfast Harlequins 0 Kilkeel 2 (D Finlay, J Aiken)

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