Glenanne’s battle with Railway Union could go a long way to deciding the destination of the title as the league’s two form, mean green teams clash at St Mark’s.
Indeed, had the Glens run out of luck last week against Rovers, this could have been a game in which Railway would attempt to announce themselves as an unlikely title contender. That thought might be a bit premature at this stage but there is plenty at stake for a fixture which already has a tempestuous recent past.
Mark English’s red card precipitated the Park Avenue side’s collapse, giving up a 3-0 lead to draw on a rip-roaring midweek date. Whether the Glens’ defence can tame the league’s highest scorers is the starting point with David Shaw and David Keogh – either side of general Graham Shaw – down the channels required to shut down Mark English’s loping runs.
At the opposite end, tracking Richie Shaw ghosting to the baseline and older brother Gary is the test at the far end. Whether Kenny Carroll is released from the international setup after an impressive game on Thursday night is a big call.
The sweeper was given a rare dose of freedom in Irish green and almost ended with a superb solo goal, flipping the ball through a couple of Czech defenders before sliding the ball just past the far post from an overlapping left-back position.
It could be feisty and frantic with Pembroke and Monkstown very interested in the outcome.
The Town will once again sweat over whether they will have some of their top stars released. David Fitzgerald has been the sole inclusion in Paul Revington’s final panel but the extended Irish squad are all being used at intervals in the three game series against the Czech Republic.
It means Richard Sykes and Gareth Watkins might have their involvement curtailed against an increasingly dangerous Clontarf.
The good news on the injury front is that David Cole looks set to return to training following his recovery from a clean break in his shoulder though it will be a few weeks before he returns to match play.
For the Bulls, corner man and nuggety performer Maverick Yow has shown few ill-effects from the injury which saw him off the pitch for his side’s last second corner against Pembroke.
Kevin Mullins reverts to the adult game after a stunning second half hat-trick won Mount Temple a Junior B league crown in midweek and Tarf have picked up five points from 12 to give real belief they can stay up.
Pembroke received a rare piece of good news on the injury front in recent times as Alan Sothern’s knee injury is not as grizzly as first feared, keeping him out for two to three weeks.
Ronan Flannery and Alan Giles are still struggling while Adam Pritchard has a knock, too. Scott Furlong, though, has whipped up some extra kph in his drag-flicks this season to keep that threat alive in Sothern’s absence.
They play a Three Rock side out of contention for the IHL places but still needing a result to fully escape a relegation threat. Ross Canning’s fitness is a worry after a tough recent schedule while their need for a corner striker is still up in the air since Peter Blakeney became tied up with Ireland.
His 11 goals in the first half of the season remains double what any of his club mates have managed.
At the bottom end, Fingal and UCD are at the make-or-break stage. Despite their similar points tallies, they can view their seasons in very different ways.
For the students, a first senior cup final, varsities and colours success combined with their huge win over Pembroke in the league and a result against Glenanne have shown what they are capable of.
Conor Motyer’s departure to Canada has been keenly felt but there is a glut of first years in the team like Conor Quinn, Rob Burke and Nick Burns to name a few for whom the development curve is large.
That they have not pushed on further in the league will pinch a few nerves, however.
Fingal are at the opposite end of the spectrum, a mature side which showed know-how in abundance to win the return fixture on a cold Sunday pre-Christmas.
Harnessing that spirit has been their stumbling block after an impressive pre-season made way to injury. A series of close results provided little solace as points did not accumulate on the board and two draws with Clontarf leave them in trouble should the students raid ALSAA.
But a win there and the potential for points against Rovers next Tuesday night (8.15pm) could quickly turn their fortunes around.
YMCA were scrutinised on Tuesday evening by Corinthian coach Lucas Piccioli and he will have seen Jonny Bruton and Marcus Richardson dove-tailing beautifully.
The Y’s title push stumbled on the back of too many draws but the top five’s order is still very much in the melting pot with four games to go. Corinthian could have the last view of Glenn Holmes for the season as he gets an MRI scan next week.
Avoca can move six clear in division two when they meet Mullingar in Newpark to ram home the advantage created by their two wins over Suttonians – they can only watch as they are on the bye weekend.
The intriguing thing is they have managed to do it without too many corner goals as Scott Wilkie’s departure to England and Rob Pearson’s injury woes have shorn that option.
Martin Naughton’s early season efforts and Sean Walsh’s recent run have filled the void as the Blackrock club’s topsy-turvy looks set for a happy outcome. An eight-point lead was built and then looked to be relinquished only to win their clutch games.
Another streaky side Dublin Uni need victory over Rathgar to make Sutton sweat in the playoff position as Niall Noonan provides the base for the students at Grange Road.
Shane Gould has been the Chiefs most consistent performer while their top-scorer battle sees Willy Wilshere back from injury to try and nail down the crown. He has five, equal with Stu Cinnamond. Weston and Portrane complete the weekend’s programme.
Men’s Leinster Division One: Corinthian v YMCA, 2:30pm, Whitechurch Park; Clontarf v Monkstown, 2pm, Mount Temple; Fingal v UCD, 1.30pm, ALSAA; Pembroke Wanderers v Three Rock Rovers, 12.30pm, Serpentine Avenue; Glenanne v Railway Union, 3pm, Glenanne Park
Division Two: Avoca v Mullingar, 2pm, Newpark School; Portrane v Weston, 12.45pm, Holy Faith Glasnevin; Dublin University v Rathgar, 2.30pm, Grange Road
Leinster Junior Cup, semi-finals: Bray vs Corinthian, 3.30pm, Loreto School, Bray; Portrane v Weston, 5pm, ALSAA
7 Responses to “Green machines clash at St Mark’s”
big bobby mace he’s got super pace and he knows how to find space, he’s got a lovely face
March 2, 2012 5:53 pm Permutations says
Glens 3 Railway 4
Clontarf 1 Town 4
Pembroke 1 TRR 2
Fingal 2 UCD 1
CHC 2 YM 4
March 3, 2012 12:27 am The Truth says
4 posters think the glens v railway game is going to be close (3 draws and 1 game to RU). I’m afraid two things spring to mind. Firstly railway are trying to break into the top five for the first time in about 100 years and secondly the game is in St Marks. I’m a real admirer of RU and the fantastic progress their mens firsts are making but I’m afraid they are going to have to play out of their skins to get within a goal of the glens never mind beat them. The great thing is they could do it but Paddy Power wouldn’t share the same optimism. I think the glens will win by at least 2 goals but wish RU the very best….
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