Glenanne’s battle with Corinthian looks set to be the vital tie this weekend in women’s Leinster’s division one as a potential automatic relegation looks a possibility for the first time in a number of years.
Three Rock Ladies’ midweek win over Muckross moved them to within a point of top spot in division two with a game in hand of leaders Pembroke II, adding significance to this battle in south-west Dublin.
The evidence to date suggests Glenanne are the better-equipped side, Dearbhla Kieran grabbing the decisive goal last time round. Aoife Dalton and Paula Fitzpatrick were lively presences that day while Leinster cap Audrey McCormack could prove a key player.
Corinthian, though, were defensively well set-up in their most recent league outing against Pembroke and will hope to keep it similarly tight in Tallaght this time around.
Elsewhere, the other four ties will all be affected by the CPP rest weekend, meaning Hermes, Old Alex, UCD, Railway and Loreto are all short international talent.
It creates tricky ties for each. UCD took the laurels against Alex the last time both sides were shy their top players, a tie in which Brenda Flannery excelled. The Galway girl has since been elevated to the CPP squad where she joins Chloe Watkins and Niamh Atcheler for a game where the long-term resonance might be the difference between automatic qualification and a playoff position for the IHL.
Pembroke’s struggle to put away Railway’s seconds in the Jacqui Potter Cup may suggest that the Dart-line derby will be favouring the visitors to Serpentine Avenue.
But, without five Irish players, a sniff of an upset will be in the air though Railway can fill the gaps with former Irish underage international Zara Delany and Jeamie Deacon. Aoife Sherriff and Sarah Clarke’s pin-point long passes and Shona Doyle’s willing front-running can cause problems, though.
With Aine Connery also returning to the Irish panel for the first time since 2007, it brings Hermes’ international contingent to a half-dozen, meaning opportunity knocks for David Bane’s side.
In a similar scenario pre-Christmas, Hermes struck very late to eventually pick off the three points as Gillian Pinder and Deirdre Duke stepped up to inflict the damage.
Cup action abounds elsewhere as the first quarter-finals of the Jacqui Potter Cup take place on Sunday with Pembroke and Old Alex meeting in a repeat of last year’s final while Hermes play Railway in a rerun of the 2009 decider.
The first half of the Irish Junior Cup will be contested with Bray and Old Alex in action while the Irish Hockey Trophy’s first round will move a couple of steps closer to finally being completed with Avoca, Genesis, Naas, North Kildare and Suttonians entering the fray.
Women’s Leinster Division One, Saturday: Glenanne vs Corinthian, 1pm, Glenanne Park; Hermes vs Trinity, 1.15pm, St Andrew’s; Old Alex vs UCD, 1.15pm, Milltown; Pembroke vs Railway Union, 2pm, Serpentine Avenue; Loreto vs Bray, 4pm, Beaufort Division Two: TRL vs Loreto, 2pm, Grange Road; Railway Union vs Muckross, 2.45pm, Park Avenue; Hermes vs Our Lady’s, 2.45pm, St Andrew’s Jacqui Potter Cup, third round, Sunday: Hermes vs Railway Union, 1.30pm, St Andrew’s; Pembroke vs Old Alex, 2.45pm, Serpentine Avenue
ESB Irish Junior Cup, round two, Saturday: Queens vs Lisnagarvey, 1pm, Queens; Bray vs Dromore, 2.30pm, Loreto Bray; Belfast Harlequins vs Old Alex, 2.30pm, Deramore Park Sunday: Pegasus vs Lurgan,1pm, Queens ESB Irish Hockey Trophy, Round One, Saturday: Greenfields vs North Kildare, 3pm, Dangan; Ashton vs Wexford, 12.30pm, Ashton school; Suttonians vs Carrickfergus, 3pm, Sutton Park School; Omagh vs Avoca, 2.30pm, Playing Fields; Lisnagarvey vs Genesis, 2.30pm, Hillsborough; Victorians vs Naas, 2.30pm, UUJ Sunday: Portadown vs Our Lady’s Terenure, 2pm, Brownlow
ESB Irish Hockey Challenge, Round Two, Saturday: Enniscorthy vs Gorey, 1pm, Enniscorthy; YMCA vs Annadale, 3pm, Claremont Road; Kilkenny vs Monkstown, 1pm, Kilkenny College; Banbridge vs Yeats County, 1pm, Havelock Park; Athlone vs Tipperary, 1.30pm, Regional SC
Sunday:Dungarvan vs Wexford, 2pm St Augustine’s College; Clonmel vs Mallow, 3pm, Rockwell College
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