Irish Cup previews

The majority of eyes in Leinster are likely to look toward Grange Road this Saturday for the tasty local derby between Three Rock and Glenanne. Rovers, going in search of their first ISC title in the open era after last claiming the title in 1974, face a Glenanne side bang in form and with the full services of Arul Anthoni on the touchline.

Anthoni was not present for the Glens 3-1 win in North Down, a frustrating day for the Tallaght-side in which manager Jerry Shaw was sent from the ground. However, the coach returns to full involvement as his other side Old Alex had their game moved forward to Wednesday night.

His side probably have the balance of form of late, producing some memorable performances against Instonians, Corinthian and the comeback against Pembroke however their recent games with Rovers have been extremely nip and tuck.

An understrength Three Rock were happier to take a 2-2 draw at Glenanne Park while extra-time was needed to separate the sides in last season’s Mills Cup semi-finals in Whitechurch.

Corinthian, meanwhile, travel up to Annadale – celebrating their 40th year – in rude health with Andrew Cronje possibly making his return from an ankle injury sustained in the indoor. Neither side have ever won the title but up until a few months ago Annadale might have been considered favourites.

However, John McInroy and Pete Darley have shaped a hard-pressing side, similar in manner to the impressive outfit Colin Stewart put together in the late 90s and early noughties and they have improved immeasurably after an uncertain autumn. They cannot be discounted from causing an upset.

Pembroke travel to the Glade to face Mossley, coached by former Irish boss John Clarke and bolstered by young stars Simon Todd, Ryan McCrea and Ross Beattie. The holders, though, go into the tie as favourites, especially if Maurice Elliott and Alan Sothern continue their developing partnership.

In Cork, Harlequins host Banbridge in the last remaining second round tie with a quarter-final against Cookstown at Coolnafranky the prize for the victor.

In the Junior Cup, top Leinster pairing YMCA and Monkstown face off at Claremont Road. YM line up with an experience outfit, full of former division one talent that draws largely on UCD and Trinity past pupils. Keeper Graham Woods could make it into many a first team and is joined by former Belfielders Gary Ryan, Mark Jenkinson and Marcus Miller.

Richie Miles provides the pace up top while Jacob Webber’s lethal drag-flick could be a factor.

For the Town, Zac Dutton has been banging in the goals this term, aided and abetted by Andrew Ward and Allen Evans. The game is likely to be fast-paced and open, two sides who look to play with a zippy passing style.

Cookstown and Raphoe is the other men’s junior cup game to go ahead this weekend. The women’s side has a full set of quarter-finals on offer.

2008 finalists Railway Union are the only side playing on home soil while Loreto, Hermes and Old Alex are all on the road out of Dublin.
* Additional team news: Alan Sothern will be given until the last minute to prove his fitness for Pembroke with an injury picked up against Railway in midweek. Phelie Maguire, meanwhile, will not be in the Three Rock squad against Glenanne as he is currently in Palestine.

Men’s Irish Senior Cup (Saturday)
Second round: Cork Harlequins v Banbridge, 2pm, Harlequin Park
Quarter-finals: Mossley v Pembroke Wanderers, 2.30pm, The Glade; Annadale v Corinthian, 2.30, UUJ; Three Rock Rovers v Glenanne, 3pm, Grange Road

Men’s Irish Junior Cup (Saturday)
Quarter-finals: YMCA II v Monkstown II, 1.15pm, Claremont Rd; Cookstown II v Raphoe II, 2.30pm, Coolnafranky

Women’s Irish Junior Cup (Saturday)
Cork Harlequins II v Hermes II, 12pm, Harlequin Park; Cork C of I II v Loreto II, 1pm, Garryduff; Railway Union II v Armagh II, 1pm, Park Avenue; Galway II v Old Alex II, 12pm, Dangan

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