YM title hopes rest in Glenanne’s hands

A frustrating Tuesday night in Rathdown for YMCA, running into an inspired David Fitzgerald, means they are at critical juncture in the men’s division one title race.

That 2-0 loss to Monkstown has left them not quite needing snookers but to win the league they surely must win both their battles with Glenanne in the run-in and all their other matches, too.

It’s been a tough couple of days for the Y, first being knocked out of the IHL by Banbridge, sucker-punched as they pressed for a goal to go through.

And then two early Town strikes rocked them on their heels. Glenanne, meanwhile, have bounced back from their heart-wrenching Mills Cup final loss with a fine second half performance against Cookstown and could watch serenely on Tuesday knowing their position has been strengthened measurably.

Joe Brennan has been totemic at the back, widely regarded by his opposition peers as their star man, while their style is a particularly attractive one – far removed from old-fashioned perceptions.

They do have an ability to frustrate oppositions, too; something YM need to wary of after a couple of cards last weekend against Bann slowed their second half momentum.

Andy Walker has been a pivotal feature of their forward play, creating the channels for Johnny Bruton, Jamie Tobin and Marcus Richardson to pursue. They will need to be tireless to evade one of the grittiest defensive foes.

Elsewhere, Monkstown will try to keep their momentum going with their next target trying to reach second place, thus earning three home IHL ties in 2011/12.

To that end, a win over Corinthian will see them gain ground over one or both of the leading pair. Their preference might be for YM to falter as, with the return leg of that battle still to come, they are eminently more vulnerable. The reds have their motivations, too, with the wildcard race still up in the air – one point covering three teams.

Lucas Piccioli’s side may not have Chris Pelow around for too much longer as he makes the move to Australia but, defensively, they are a strong unit – Francisco Corradini, Barry Glavey and Alan Blennerhassett meaning it will always be tight.

Railway will be looking for three-points in Lucan against Weston to get back into the fifth place they held for so long.

Three Rock, meanwhile, have a threadbare panel for the trip to Pembroke for the first of two meetings in quick succession. Patrick Good’s late winner last week quickly swapped despair at Serpentine Avenue to a surge of positivity after three harrowing weeks.

Their deep-lying game plan was a smart one to upset Monkstown’s rhythm. Against a side who use a similar technique will be an interesting proposition.

In division two, Clontarf can take another huge stride to the division two title if they can get the better of Trinity at Grange Road but a home win will throw the league back into the mix. At least one of the chasers will lose ground with Avoca hosting the Chiefs while Suttonians face Navan.

Leinster Men’s Division One, Saturday: Corinthian vs Monkstown, 1pm, Whitechurch Park; Glenanne vs YMCA, 3pm, Glenanne Park; Pembroke vs Three Rock Rovers, 2pm, Serpentine Avenue; UCD vs Fingal, 1pm, Belfield; Weston vs Railway Union, 11.15am, Griffeen Valley Park.
Sunday: Glenanne vs Railway Union, 1.30pm, Glenanne Park

Division Two, Saturday: Avoca vs Rathgar Chiefs, 1.45pm, Newpark; Dublin University vs Clontarf, 12.30pm, Grange Road; Suttonians vs Navan, 12.30pm, Sutton Park School.

Irish Junior Cup, semi-final:

Men's Leinster Senior Div 1