Three Rock close in on double after wins

by Stephen Findlater

THREE Rock Rovers advanced their Leinster hockey double aspirations with comprehensive wins in Division 1 and the Mills Cup semi-final last weekend.

On Saturday, Rovers brought their unbeaten run to 14 games in the league with a 7-1 win over Fingal.

Jonny Bruton opened the scoring in the first minute with a low reverse and Alan White nabbed his first of the season soon after. Shane Dempsey got one back from a straight drag-flick as Fingal had a decent amount of the ball in the second quarter but Rovers replied quickly as Jody Hosking bravely volleyed home on his backhand ahead of Craig Ellis’ attempted block.

Ben McCrea then picked a delicious pass to find Garry Ringwood at the head of the circle and he thumped home for a 4-1 half-time lead. Mick Maguire, Mitch Darling and Bruton’s second closed out the result to stay top by two points overnight.

On Sunday, they became the first side to reach the final of the Leinster Senior Mills Cup as they ran up a string of late goals for a flattering 8-1 scoreline against Rathgar.

Indeed, Rathagar went in front in the 11th minute when Dan Needham pummelled home the opening goal.

That lead lasted just a minute, however, as Jonny McCormack scrambled home from close range and Rovers were 3-1 up at half-time. Huub de With located Bruton mid-circle and his early shot deceived Dan Gribben before Peter Blakeney’s low drag-flick found a way in.

Rovers, though, were put under a lot of pressure early in the second half before bouncing back to score five goals in the closing quarter.

McCormack and Dylan Shirley worked the opening for Ali Haughton to sweep home from the top of the circle. Shirley finished off a Hosking cross, Mick Maguire completed a corner rebound and Hosking thumped home after a forceful run before Maguire knocked home his second, all in the last 15 minutes as Rathgar ran out of legs.

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