Garvey-Rovers’ tie pivotal in IHL playoff race

With Pool B virtually done and dusted, most eyes will be trained on the Comber Road in Pool A where Lisnagarvey host Three Rock Rovers in the pivotal game of this men’s Irish Hockey League weekend.

The winner will more than likely join Pembroke – who face Cork Harlequins – in the playoff places barring some final round shenanigans. The sides have played out some classic ties over the years but Rovers have won some key battles at the venue, notably a 5-2 win in the inaugural IHL season.

Garvey's Sean Murray is aiming to help his side break Three Rock's run Pic: Adrian Boehm

Garvey’s Sean Murray is aiming to help his side break Three Rock’s run Pic: Adrian Boehm

Peter Blakeney was a star man that day and his form in the Mills Cup final will be a cause for concern for Garvey as one of the men to tame if they are to inflict just the second defeat of the season on the Dubliners.

Their narrow 1-0 defeat to Pembroke leaves the hosts three points back, meaning a draw will not do them too much good, meaning they need to go all out for the victory, preferably denying Three Rock a bonus point.

Pembroke should make it four wins from four on home turf against a Quins’ side without a point to date though they did improve in their 3-0 loss to Lisnagarvey. Cookstown have a narrow chance of progressing should they defeat Instonians but require favours from elsewhere.

In Pool B, should Monkstown land a point at Corinthian or Banbridge do likewise on Sunday against Annadale, they will be through. Both results, on form, would be largely anticipated.

UCD, meanwhile, are looking to build on their victory last week over Annadale with a first win over Cork C of I as former Garryduff men Nick Burns and Ben Dobson face their former club.

Clontarf lead the Irish Hockey Trophy charge from Leinster as they make the long trip to Bandon in the semi-final. Sunday sees the Pembroke II and Monkstown II take on Cork Harlequins and Cookstown, respectively, in the semi-finals of the Irish Junior Cup.

Men’s Irish Hockey League (all Saturday)
Pool A:
Cookstown vs Instonians, 2.30pm, Steelweld Park; Lisnagarvey vs Three Rock Rovers, 2.45pm, Comber Road; Pembroke vs Cork Harlequins, 3.30pm, Farmer’s Cross

Pool B
Corinthian vs Monkstown, 3pm, Whitechurch Park; UCD v Cork C of I, 4.15pm, Belfield
Sunday: Annadale vs Banbridge, 1.30pm, Lough Moss

Irish Hockey Trophy (Saturday), semi-finals: Portadown vs Newry, 1pm, Edenvilla; Bandon vs Clontarf, 2.30pm, Bandon GS

Irish Junior Cup (Sunday), semi-finals: Cookstown vs Monkstown, 2.30pm, Steelweld Park; Cork Harlequins vs Pembroke, 3.15pm, Farmer’s Cross

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