Familiarity may breed over-confidence for UCD and Loreto or so Old Alex and Pembroke will hope as, seven days on from league defeats, they will hope they can land Irish Senior Cup surprise results and earn places in the semi-finals.For Pembroke, they under-performed last weekend on home soil against a Loreto side that were profligate in front of goal. Stella Davis proved a strong last line while their defence, their strongest suit for much of the campaign, held up well in the face of an onslaught.
But finding the goals at the far end is their major issue for the moment. As such, a shoot-out is not a likely outcome but if they can keep it tight like their initial scoreless draw at the start of the season. Limiting the corner chances for Sarah Clarke and Hannah Matthews is key.
It is one of a couple of intriguing ties in this round of the competition. Railway Union face the long trip north to the Joey Dunlop Centre to face Ballymoney. Nasir Munir’s side will not have to face up against Megan Frazer, however, after Money requested she be allowed play due to Holcombe – her current club in England – in the second tier across the water.
However, English Hockey turned down the request, making their task against the reigning champions that bit harder. In the last round, Ballymoney just about got over the challenge of Glenanne on penalties and are battling hard to get back into the IHL places in the Ulster Premier.
Last year’s finalists UCD built up to their tie with Old Alex in confident fashion, serving Trinity with a pre-Colours warning by running out 4-0 winners on Thursday night with Brenda Flannery netting twice while regular scorers Nikki Evans and Anna O’Flanagan bringing their seasonal tallies to 19 and 12, respectively.
The Belfielders have netted four times in their last four games this season including last Saturday against Alex having also scored four times when the sides met in the return league fixture. As such, it makes it a huge ask for Didi Cole’s side to upset the applecart.
With the Leinster league looking an unlikely prospect, Railway will be focussed in on this tie with particular gusto. In the all-Ulster tie, Ulster Elks will be hoping to bounce back from a 3-0 loss at the hands of Lurgan in early January.Domestically, Hermes could move within three points of UCD if they get the better of Corinthian on Saturday while North Kildare host Trinity on Sunday, the hosts needing a win to close the gap on Corinthian at the bottom.
In division two, Muckross put in a five-star performance to see off Hermes II on Monday night with Jane Gilsenan and Sophie Nolan firing doubles. Crucially, it lifts the Donnybrook side above Genesis in the battle to be the first first team in the division.
They are back in action on Sunday in another D4 derby against Railway Union II while the other four league ties in the division take place on Saturday afternoon.
Women’s Irish Senior Cup, quarter-finals: UCD vs Old Alex, 1pm, Belfield; Pembroke vs Loreto, 2pm, Serpentine Avenue; Ballymoney vs Railway Union, 2.30pm, Joey Dunlop Centre; Ulster Elks vs Lurgan, 2.30pm, Newtonabbey
Leinster Division One
Thursday: UCD 4 (B Flannery 2, A O’Flanagan, N Evans) Trinity 0
Saturday: Hermes vs Corinthian, 1.15pm, St Andrews
Sunday: North Kildare vs Trinity College, 1.15pm, The Maws
Monday: Hermes II 0 Muckross 5 (J Gilsenan 2, S Nolan 2, K Ronan)
Saturday: Loreto II vs Trinity II, 1pm, Loreto Beaufort; Genesis vs Pembroke II, 2.30pm, Belfield; Hermes II vs Three Rock Rovers, 3pm, St Andrews; Old Alex II vs UCD II, 3.30pm, Milltown
Sunday: Muckross vs Railway Union II, 12pm, Teresians