Glenanne are looking to add another shock to their Irish Senior Cup collection on Saturday when they host 2013 champions Railway Union in Tallaght in a wide open quarter-final line-up.Kieran Bolger’s side have relished the knock-out competition and, with the Leinster league unlikely to provide massive drama in their last five games, this is very much the apple of their eye.
In the past two years, the Glens have eliminated IHL sides Pegasus and UCC but this would probably be the pick of the bunch. If they are to do so, they will need the likes of Clare Shillington to fire up front, Audrey McCormack to power on from midfield and Kate O’Connor to provide the brick wall at the back.
Allied to young stars like Sarah Daly, Jessica Meeke, Jennifer Rynne and Saoirse O’Donoghue, they will be up for this huge test.
Railway, though, seem to be on the rise in recent times with three clean sheets and three wins since the turn of the year. Sarah Hawkshaw’s availability has been a key part while Zara Delany has been used more in midfield to good effect.
With top scorers Kate Dillon and Emma Smyth back from international duty, former Glens’ boss Nasir Munir seems to be bringing the side to the boil at the right time.
At Booterstown, there is a reunion of sorts with potentially eight of the UCD 2009 Irish Senior Cup winning side showing down in the tie between Hermes and Belfast Harlequins.
Via different routes since graduation, Quins have snapped up Orlagh O’Shea via Loreto and Hermes, Fyona Flinn after a stint in the middle east and Laura Wilson who returned to her home province.
They were all part of the Belfielders panel that stunned Pegasus 4-1 in the final six years ago with current Hermes player Rosie Carrigan on the mark. With increased availability this year, she has been a key figure in midfield while there is a further four players from that vintage on the Booterstown club’s books.
In the Ulster league, the Belfast side have been hard to beat but shy on goals with just 10 from 10 games. Hermes are usually free-scoring but have found chance-taking an issue in recent ties against Corinthian and Old Alex despite creating numerous opportunities.Cork Harlequins welcome back Yvonne O’Byrne and Cliodhna Sargent from international duty after their stint in Spain, sharing their series with the Valencia hosts.
Rachael Kohler and Karen Bateman are still key players for the Cork side and they will need to make an impact to improve their sides fortunes after a draw last week against Bandon as they welcome a star-studded Pegasus side for whom Alex Speers returned to this term.
Pegs are in the mix up north, sitting third but with two games in hand over leaders Ulster Elks. Elks play a Garvey side that they have already beaten 8-1 this season as they aim to keep alive hopes of a maiden title.
Three ties are on the women’s Leinster division one agenda for the weekend. On Saturday, UCD face a key game against Pembroke for both sides IHL hopes. The former are likely to make sweeping changes with seven internationals back in the mix while Pembroke have Stella Davis back in goal.
Trinity will look to shake off their frustrations having garnered just one point from two impressive performances in recent weeks as they make the trip to North Kildare.
Sunday, meanwhile, looks a potential league decider for Hermes. Should they land victory over Loreto at Beaufort, they will have a six point buffer and what looks a much friendlier run-in than Railway.
Women’s Irish Senior Cup, quarter-finals: Glenanne v Railway Union, 1pm, Glenanne Park; Ulster Elks v Lisnagarvey, 1pm, UUJ; Cork Harlequins v Pegasus, 1.30pm, Farmer’s Cross; Hermes v Belfast Harlequins, 1.30pm, Booterstown
Leinster Division One
Saturday: North Kildare v Trinity, 1pm, The Maws; UCD v Pembroke, 1pm, Belfield
Sunday: Loreto v Hermes, 2.30pm, Beaufort
Division two fixtures: Railway Union II v Loreto II, 10am, Park Avenue; Pembroke II v UCD II, 3.30pm, Serpentine Avenue
Irish Hockey Trophy (Saturday, January 24):
Round Two: Armagh v Ashton, 2.30pm, Ardmore LC
Round Three: Naas v Genesis, 11.30am, Caragh Road; Larne v Rathgar, 1pm, Larne; Galway v Ballymena, 1.30pm, Dangan; Kilkenny v Omagh, 2.30pm, Kilkenny College; Our Lady’s v Belvedere, 2.30pm, Templeogue; Cork C of I v Monkstown, 3pm, Garryduff; Three Rock Ladies v Muckross, 5pm, Grange Road