Clontarf produced a second successive 6-1 to top Pool 2 of the men’s EYHL Division 2 with a stunning second half performance to propel them into the promotion playoffs.
Going into the tie, just one point separated the three sides in this tightest of groups and it looked set to go right down to the wire as the first half ended scoreless.
But the Bulls went on a second half rampage with David Vincent scoring a hat trick to see them to race to first place in the group and also send Cork Harlequins through in second place with Kilkeel missing out on the playoffs.
In Pool 1, Railway Union topped the table after a comeback win over Cork C of I, knocking the Garryduff side formally out of contention as a result.
Rob Sweetnam had C of I 1-0 up at the break before the prolific Mark English weighed in with a double and Munster man Andrew McGregor also scored for Railway to build a 3-1 lead.
Sweetnam got another back but Railway held on to make it 26 points out of a possible 30 and a straight route through to the playoff semi-finals.
Instonians took second place with a 4-0 win at Rathgar courtesy of a Stephen Kelso hat trick, earning a quarter-final spot.
In Pool 3, Cookstown won top spot with a hard fought 2-1 win over Bandon at Steelweld Park. First half goals from Max Anderson and Michael Kerr made the difference with Ross Smyth cutting the gap.
That win earned the Tyrone club a semi-final spot with Bandon into the quarters. There, they will go to Instonians while Clontarf are up against Cork Harlequins.
On the women’s side, the playoff places were formalised. Despite a 5-0 loss to Queen’s, Cork C of I got the last playoff place on offer from Pool 2, finishing in third place.
It was an emotional one with Zoe Wilson making her comeback from injury, netting twice for Queen’s in the victory.
Lurgan could have overtaken them had they produced a shock against Monkstown but it never materialised as they fell 8-1 with Anna O’Flanagan scoring four times.
Pool 1 was all but finalised before Saturday’s play. Ards’ 3-0 success against Galway confirmed top spot with Corinthian second after a 2-0 win over Trinity.
It means Ards and Monkstown are straight into the semi-finals of the promotion playoffs while Corinthian will face Cork C of I and UCC go to Queen’s in the other quarter-final.
EYHL Division 2
Pool 1: Cork C of I 2 (R Sweetnam 2) Railway Union 3 (M English 2, A McGregor); Rathgar 0 Instonians 4 (S Kelso 3, J Kidd)
Pool 2: Kilkeel 1 (J Aiken) Clontarf 6 (D Vincent 3, J Mullins 2, W Eickholt)
Pool 3: Cookstown 2 (M Anderson, M Kerr) Bandon 1 (R Smyth); Portrane 4 (M Madsen 2, D Graham, S Graham) Mossley 1 (J Robinson)
EYHL Division Two
Pool 1: Corinthian 2 (J McGrane, L McGrane) Trinity 0; Galway 0 Ards 3 (A Adams 3)
Pool 2: Monkstown 8 (A O’Flanagan 4, S Hoban-Logan, C Watkins, C O’Reilly) Lurgan 1 (Gordon); Cork C of I 0 Queen’s 5 (Z Wilson 2, A Jebb, E Getty, C Whiteside)