Men’s Weekend Preview
Leinster’s U-18s bid to end Ulster’s three year reign as interpro champions has taken on a slightly more manageable hue as Banbridge pair Josh Moffett and Peter Brown have not been included in their panel for the tournament which begins on Friday in Booterstown.
The former’s injury from prior to the EHL is still in effect, meaning the province’s U-16 captain two years ago will not be able to lift a trophy once more while Brown – an Irish U-18 in the summer – is also out. The blues have a side with a strong amount of division one experience under their belt.
But Ulster will be backed by the outstanding Michael Anderson in goal while Matthew Rollins and James Lorimer exude confidence as ball-playing centre-backs. Adam Fallis and Ben Cosgrove provide the creativity going forward while a cohort of five Annadale youngsters underpin Andy McBride’s panel.
Munster’s challenge draws on five of the Midleton side who came seconds away from getting a result against Banbridge Academy in the All-Ireland schools with Andrew Colton supplying a corner option. Richard Lynch and Gary Wilkinson’s ball handling skills will be a threat moving forward while Limerick man Nathan Eacrett is one of the province’s prospects.
At U-16 level, Leinster are going for a fourth success in five years but have a reasonably new-look side to hand.
The knock-on effect of the interpros has seen a reduction in Leinster league fixtures though arguably the sides with most need for postponements are the ones in action with Pembroke, Three Rock and Corinthian affected significantly.
It comes at a slightly inopportune time for both Pembroke and Three Rock who have a number of injuries to contend with. The visitors to Grange Road have had to rejig their back-line as a result and also can’t use Kirk Shimmins or the emerging Mark Loughrey while Rovers will be without Ross Canning, Luke Madeley and Harry Morris.
Alan Bothwell starts a four-week suspension, too, serving the maximum time out for a red card received against YMCA.
Pembroke have coped much better in recent times, though, and look to have a formidable panel this year and celebrated last weekend’s Irish Senior Cup flicks win over Monkstown vigourously. Victory will lengthen their place at the top of the pile to at least three points.
Corinthian have the biggest Leinster representation off books as the likes of Jordan Sutton, Ian Stewart and Robbie Clarke – who have all been incorporated into the first team at times – represent their province. It thins Lucas Piccioli’s options for their game against a YMCA side without concerns on a similar level.
Railway’s game with Glenanne has been pulled as the Park Avenue side are in Prague playing at an indoor competition and will play their refix now on November 29.
Clontarf receive a refix against Monkstown due to player-coach Gareth Borland’s dual role as Leinster U-16 coach while Rory O’Dononghue’s similar plurality at U-18 level and UCD has pushed back the league tie with Fingal to December 4. Sunday’s Neville Cup semi-finals, meanwhile, both have been pushed back with the students facing Glenanne on Monday night in Belfield.
Division two continues unabated with the playoff intentions of Rathgar and Weston an intriguing sub-plot. Preseason intentions were high but Avoca’s form has seen them trailing in their wake to date. Both have tricky maestros in the form of Paul Tuthill and Simon Pearson up their sleeves for what could be a key tie in the first of three meetings between the sides this term. Avoca’s latest test is a tie with Dublin University at Grange Road while Mullingar will aim to get off the mark when they meet Suttonians in Tullamore.
** For all twitter updates over the weekend from all divisions and competitions, please use #leinsterhockey hashtag to help with collation of results. Follow The Hook on twitter.com/hookhockey
U-18 Boy’s Interprovincials (all in St Andrew’s College, Booterstown)
Friday, November 18: Leinster v Ulster, 3pm; Munster v Ulster, 7pm
Saturday, November 19: Leinster v Munster, 1pm; Leinster v Ulster, 5pm
Sunday, November 20: Munster v Ulster, 12pm; Leinster v Munster, 4pm
U-16 Boy’s Interprovincials
Friday, November 18: Leinster v Ulster, 1pm; Munster v Ulster, 5pm
Saturday, November 19: Leinster v Munster, 11am; Leinster v Ulster, 3pm
Sunday, November 20: Munster v Ulster, 10am; Leinster v Munster, 2pm
Men’s Leinster Division One (all Saturday): YMCA v Corinthian, 2.45pm, Alexandra College; Three Rock Rovers v Pembroke Wanderers, 1pm, Grange Road
Division Two: Mullingar v Suttonians, 3.30pm, Tullamore; Dublin University v Avoca, 2.30pm, Grange Road; Rathgar v Weston, 2pm, High School
Neville Cup Semi final (Monday): UCD vs Glenanne, 8pm, Belfield