Pembroke and Monkstown make their IHL seasonal debuts on Saturday with northern opposition on the menu for both, taking on Cookstown and Instonians respectively.
It starts a busy week for both Leinster sides with a double weekend in store seven days later with their key back match down for decision on November 9.For Pembroke, they produced some of their best hockey of last term with two wins at Steelweld Park – 7-3 in the cup, 3-2 in the IHL.
Cookstown are at full strength this week and skipper Greg Allen says his side “are due a win over Pembroke” after last year’s frustrations and will be specifically targetting this competition after elimination from the Irish Senior Cup.
Monkstown meet the only side with a win in Pool A with a win under their belt, Instonians, at Rathdown. Having hit Three Rock for six, the Dublin side look big favourites for this tie against a club who conceded six against Pembroke in the cup.
Indeed, few will fancy meeting Graham Shaw’s side in current form with their ability to adjust their presses accordingly to either counter-attack at speed or push high and squeeze mistakes, they are a forimidable proposition.
For Shaw, last weekend’s win was based around their finishing, an element that he felt was missing from their output prior to the Rovers game. UCC and Annadale meet for the first time in the IHL at the Mardyke.
In Pool B, the three round one winners play the sides who lost out three weeks ago. Lisnagarvey host Railway Union in a potential banana-skin for the Comber Road side while Three Rock welcome Cork C of I and Banbridge will fancy their chances against UCD on the Patterson pitch at Belfield.
In Leinster, Corinthian meet Glenanne in a match brought forward from December with fourth place a potential prize for the victor.
Men’s Irish Hockey League (all Saturday)
Pool A: Cookstown v Pembroke, 2.30pm, Steelweld Park; Monkstown v Instonians, 2.30pm, Rathdown; UCC v Annadale, 3pm, The Mardyke
Pool B: Lisnagarvey v Railway Union, 2.45pm, Comber Road; Three Rock Rovers v Cork C of I, 3.15pm, Grange Road; UCD v Banbridge, 1.45pm, Belfield Patterson Pitch
Leinster Division One: Corinthian v Glenanne, 12.45pm, Whitechurch Park
Division Two: Pembroke II v Clontarf, 12.30pm, Serpentine Avenue; YMCA II v Monkstown II, 12.30pm, Milltown; Three Rock Rovers II v Final, 1pm, Grange Road; Kilkenny v Corinthian II – tbc