Glenanne have developed some last minute jitters but there was enough in their second half performance on Wednesday night against Corinthian to suggest they will take the one point they need to take the Leinster men’s division one title for the fifth time in 12 years.
The cost, though, of this busy schedule – four games in eight days – could be a concern as David Keogh hobbled off in midweek while Brendan Parsons was also out.
The vastly experienced Paul Fitzpatrick made a comeback in the back four rotation as a result but you would have to expect that, if not Saturday then Sunday’s game against Weston, there is more than enough in the weekend to get the result required.
Monkstown on Saturday are similarly afflicted by injury, the rigours of the glut of matches created by the mid-winter snow, takes its toll especially on the IHL sides.
David Cole, Kyle Good, Brian Groves, Dave Fitzgerald, Richard Sykes and Nick Dee in recent times have all missed games, slowing the momentum a touch to see them with one win in their last five games.
They are secure in fourth place and an automatic IHL, though, courtesy of Wednesday’s result leaving Corinthian only able to tie for fourth.
The Town profited three years ago from a greater number of wins in a deadlock with Fingal and, should the sides end level, this will be the tiebreaker.
Should the Glens create the rousing recovery from a low-key first half against the reds then it could be their day to finally settle any nerves after being just a few seconds from the title seven days ago against YM and then missing a stroke to win it on Wednesday.
Elsewhere, the remaining issue concerns fifth place and the wildcard place. A win for Corinthian over YMCA on Sunday will seal it but anything else sees the vultures circling, waiting to swoop.
The reds are shy a few players as Alan Blennerhassett is working in Spain while Andrew Sutton was injured in midweek. Colm Blennerhassett made a rare first team appearance this year as a result while Andy Malcolm also stepped up to the plate.
Three Rock need to make no mistakes against UCD and Fingal on home turf – the latter likely to be without Tom Manning (hurling), David Bane and Conor Connolly (both injured) – if they are to have a chance.
The students proved sticky opponents first time around, nabbing a last-gasp 3-3 draw, and they have a chance of escaping the relegation playoff if they can grab six points from their two weekend games.
Railway are the other side hoping for a Corinthian when they face Pembroke, looking to record a league double over their Sandymount rivals. Anything less and they will miss out despite a productive season.
Four more men’s finals will be decided over the weekend, too. At Belfield, its an all-Ulster affair as Banbridge take on Lisnagarvey in the men’s Irish Junior Cup.
Clontarf aim to succeed where they missed out two years ago – a division two league and Neville Davin Cup final double – when they face Dublin University at Serpentine Avenue.
They will hope the students may overindulge at Europe’s biggest private party, the Trinity Ball, on Friday night especially with the early 12pm tip-off.
Trinity beat them in the decider two years ago on penalty strokes in a cracker on the Saturday night of the IHL finals weekend at Grange Road. Whether the crowd will be as boisterous as that evening remains to be seen.
Monkstown IV take on St James’ Gate in the Intermediate final with Paul Kennedy bossing the Crumlin side’s backline.
Athy, meanwhile, will hope to bring a cup title home to go with their maiden league title a year ago. They face St Brendan’s Phoenix Park in the Junior Cup decider.
Leinster Men’s Division One, Saturday: TRR vs UCD, 2.15pm, Grange Road; Monkstown vs Glenanne, 1.30pm, Rathdown Sunday, all at 2pm: Corinthian vs YMCA, Milltown; Pembroke vs Railway Union, Serpentine Avenue; TRR vs Fingal, Grange Road; Weston vs Glenanne, Griffeen Valley Park; UCD vs Monkstown, Belfield
Men’s Irish Junior Cup: Banbridge II vs Lisnagarvey II, 3.30pm, Belfield
Leinster Men’s Cup finals, all Saturday at Serpentine Avenue
Neville Davin Cup: Clontarf vs Dublin University, 12pm Intermediate Cup: Monkstown vs St James’ Gate, 2pm Junior Cup: St Brendan’s Phoenix Park vs Athy, 4pm
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