Annadale made a big leap toward EY Hockey League safety as UCD’s fate was formally sealed on Saturday afternoon in the wake of a wild 5-3 scoreline.
The Ulster side recovered from a perilous position against the student side as part of a dramatic late swing in fortunes that could have seen Dale in the relegation zone had they not turned things around and rivals Pembroke held on to win against Three Rock Rovers.
But late twists in each tie meant Dale are four points clear of the drop zone with three rounds to go with Pembroke remaining in the bottom two.
Spencer Pinion had put Dale in front but a Kevin O’Dea penalty stroke in the first quarter and a quickfire pair from Sam Byrne and captain Ewan Ramsay saw the students race into a 3-1 lead.
It awoke the Ulster side from their slumber and they produced a remarkable 10-minute spell in which David Tremlett got them back in the game and then Robbie Davidson and Michael Robson within a minute of each other for a 4-3 advantage.
Tremlett added another in the final minute to seal the deal and a vital three points.
In Dublin, Alan Sothern and Julian Dale penalty corner goals put Pembroke 2-1 up against second placed Three Rock Rovers.
But Rovers finished strong for a second successive week, Ryan Spencer equalising with nine minutes to go before Ben Johnson’s low bullet won the game.
That keeps them in the title hunt, two points off leaders Lisnagarvey who seem to be hitting their stride at just the right time,
Matthew Nelson’s deflection put them in front in the first quarter when he finished off great from Jonny Lynch. It stayed that for a long time before Garvey cut loose with Daniel Nelson, Ollie Kidd and Lynch all netting in quick succession to run up a 4-0 lead before Grant Glutz got a consolation for YM.
Monkstown produced a strong late show to beat Glenanne 2-1, Mark Gibbons and Jeremy Duncan scoring in the last quarter to nick a fifth successive victory. It puts Town in third place with the Glens dropping down to fifth.
Banbridge moved up a place into fourth position thanks to their 2-1 victory over Corinthian. Luke Witherow and Jonny McKee got their goals with Max Neill getting the reds’ single response, all coming in the first half.
In EY Division Two, Railway Union moved to the top of Group One with a 1-0 win over Instonians with Mark English getting the only goal at a drenched Park Avenue.
Inst drop into third place with Cork C of I going second courtesy of a big 4-0 victory over Rathgar.
Clontarf leapt into first place in Pool 2, beating a Covid weakened Cork Harlequins 6-1.
In Pool 3, Cookstown went top with a 4-1 away win over Mossley, combined with a surprise 2-0 loss for previous leaders Bandon to Portrane.
EYHL Division 1: Annadale 5 (D Tremlett 2, R Davidson, M Robson, S Pinion) UCD 3 (K O’Dea, S Byrne, E Ramsay); Banbridge 2 (L Witherow, J McKee) Corinthian 1 (M Neill); Glenanne 1 (S Boucher) Monkstown 2 (M Gibbons, J Duncan); Lisnagarvey 4 (O Kidd, M Nelson, D Nelson, J Lynch) YMCA 1 (G Glutz); Pembroke 2 (A Sothern, J Dale) Three Rock Rovers 3 (J Walker, R Spencer, B Johnson)
EYHL Division 2
Pool 1: Cork C of I 4 (J Bruton 2, S Wolfe, M Gallagher) Rathgar 0; Railway Union 1 (M English) Instonians 0
Pool 2: Clontarf 6 (D Keuter 2, A O’Malley 2, S Grace, D Vincent) Cork Harlequins 1 (A Dale)