Glenanne look the pedigree outfit going into the final four stage of the Irish Senior Cup – the world’s oldest knock-out hockey competition – as they travel to Grange Road on Saturday in the all-Leinster tie against Three Rock Rovers.
Three wins over the Rathfarnham side in 2009/10 should have them firmly in the box-seat while they are the most recent winners of the competition, the only side left to win the competition this millennium with Rovers last tasting success in 2007. Three Rock are second on the all time list but have been waiting for a success since 1974 and a first final appearance since 1999.
Monkstown’s wait goes back to 1914 while Annadale have two final appearances to their name – the most recent in that thrilling 4-3 loss to the Glens in ’07 – but no wins.
Glenanne will, though, be fretting over the fitness of Graham Shaw who was a significant absentee last weekend for the visit of Lisnagarvey in the IHL.
An additional motivating factor for Rovers, though, could be there willingness to impress Arul Anthoni who will take over the coaching reins at Three Rock in 2010/11 with Maarten Bos stepping down at the end of the campaign.
Monkstown will be eyeing a return to the final they last contested in 2008 with the one remaining Ulster side in their way. Rory O’Donoghue’s side picked off an eye-catching win, rising from the dead against Banbridge to score three times in the closing quarter in what was a real watershed moment for the club.
With Rathdown advantage, they face an Annadale side who have negotiated a pair of Ulster derbies but have yet to visit Dublin this term. Peter Caruth and Jonny Quigley are the main threats from play with Neil and Ian Hamilton both offer corner threats while it’s difficult to discern much from a low-key 1-0 home defeat to Three Rock last week.
They are battling with a double-prize in the offing – a televised date on RTE to be shown on Monday, May 10, a day after the final itself as well as a potential EHL place. Only Glenanne have two clear shots at Europe, therefore raising the ante for the other trio.
Men’s Irish Senior Cup Semi Finals (Saturday)
Monkstown v Annadale, 1.30pm, Rathdown; Three Rock v Glenanne, 3pm, Grange Road