Monkstown’s credentials will undergo severe scrutiny this weekend in Tallaght as they travel to face Glenanne in the Gerry McCabe Cup fixture between the sides occupying the top two rungs of the league.
As the new Glenanne website points out in its preview, both sides were tipped for big things this years but have yet to hit the real heights – evidenced in last weekend’s IHL ties.
The Town make the trip without Robbie McFarlane who will be in Africa until Christmas while panel member Cian Speers has moved to Dublin University.
Their usually open, fluid style has been stifled against Three Rock and Railway but coming away single-goal winners shows plenty of grit.
Glenanne need to find a bit of form, too, with EHL concerns on the horizon but Graham Shaw’s men still have that knack of getting a result when all seems lost.
Shane O’Donoghue has become scorer-in-chief since Stephen Butler’s departure – plying his trade this weekend in Eindhoven with Dragons – while Eddie O’Malley is hoping to make his predatory skills worthy of a weekly update.
UCD, meanwhile, start their league campaign in earnest with Rory O’Donoghue starting with a Belfield date with Three Rock Rovers.
Conor Motyer – from Corinthian – has joined their list of new arrivals along with Ben Dobson, Luke Chadwick and Gareth Carragher as the overhaul begins after ten players moved on in the off season.
Whether they have to fire-power to threaten a particularly stingy Rovers’ defence is one of the big tests though they may enjoy more ball than against other opponents.
Peter Blakeney, after a couple of weekends in the US on work duties, could return to add more direction to the forward line.
As detailed on this site, Griffeen Valley Park hosts its very first Leinster division one game, hoping to reverse the Neville Cup result against Fingal. From early season manoeuvres, this is one of the fixtures Weston need to target and are hoping for a big crowd to greet the occasion.
Corinthian is another side looking to overturn a Neville Cup exit a month ago and they host a Railway Union outfit who have been pushing sides close in recent times but were frustrated by YM and Monkstown not to get greater reward.
Containing Mark English and former red Peter Yates – a goalscorer in both league games – will be the task for Corinthian.
Bouncing back from the gut-wrenching denial of an IHL victory last weekend is a big test for Lucas Piccioli’s side. YMCA have another weekend off due to Pembroke’s European concerns.
In division two, the chasing pack has the chance to overhaul the latent Dublin University this weekend.
Clontarf travel to Rathgar for the first time while Avoca will hope to use their home tie with Bray to leap-frog Trinity, too. Navan’s Saturday greets the visit of Suttonians to King’s Hospital.
The women’s division one programme still has two fixtures in spite of the U-18 and U-16 interprovincials taking centre-stage.
The reds will hope to get key players Jenny Heggie and Fiona Purcell back in action after they missed their tie with Loreto.
Glenanne, meanwhile, bring forward their tie with Hermes from a fortnight’s time as they travel to Barcelona to support their men’s team in the EHL.
Milltown plays host to the aforementioned U-18 and U-16 interpros with Leinster looking to claim undo Ulster’s stranglehold on the titles.
Men’s Division One: UCD vs Three Rock Rovers, 1pm, Belfield; Weston vs Fingal, 3pm, Griffeen Valley Park; Corinthian vs Railway Union, 1.15 pm, Whitechurch; Glenanne vs Monkstown, 3pm, Glenanne Park
Men’s Division Two: Rathgar Chiefs vs Clontarf, 2pm, High School; Navan vs Suttonians, 12.30pm, Kings Hospital; Avoca vs Bray, 1.45pm, Newpark
Women’s Division One: Bray vs Corinthian, 1pm, Loreto Bray; Glenanne vs Hermes, 1.30pm, Glenanne Park
Girls U18 & U16 Interpros, Alexandra College, Milltown, Dublin
Saturday: Leinster vs Connacht (10am); Ulster vs South East (11.30am); Munster vs Leinster (1pm); South East vs Connacht (2.30pm); Ulster vs Munster (4pm);
Sunday: Munster vs Connacht (9.30am); South East vs Leinster (11am); Ulster vs Connacht (12.30pm); South East vs Munster (2pm); Leinster vs Ulster (3.30pm).
Saturday: South East vs Ulster (10am); Munster vs Leinster (11.30am); South East vs Connacht (1pm); Ulster vs Munster (2.30pm); Leinster vs Connacht (4pm).
Sunday: South East vs Leinster (9.30am); Ulster vs Connacht (11am); South East vs Munster (12.30pm); Leinster vs Ulster (2pm); Munster vs Connacht (3.30pm).