The men’s EY Hockey League pre-Christmas schedule comes to a close on Saturday with a potentially important round of fixtures in the race for the playoff places.
Lisnagarvey are already guaranteed the Christmas number one spot no matter what happens courtesy of their superb run of seven wins from eight.
They are bolstered, too, by the arrival of Mikey Watt back in Ireland, adding another excellent forward option to the Hillsborough club’s armoury.But they will have their work cut out for them at Park Avenue against a Railway Union side in reasonable form and defensively miserly in December with Stephen O’Keeffe to the fore.
Resurgent Glenanne host third place Banbridge looking to earn their fifth win from their last six outings and progress their push a top three spot. Bann have not been at their fluid best with just four goals in the last four games and will look to Bruce McCandless to get them motoring.
Cork C of I and Pembroke’s battle is one where both sides will be keen to get their season’s back on track. C of I have not won since mid-October after a lightning start to the season and will be slightly jealous of some of the players in Pembroke’s squad who rose up through their youth system before moving to Dublin.
Pembroke could welcome back Kirk Shimmins and Alan Sothern who missed last week’s game against Glenanne.
Three Rock will hope to get their first win on the road to Ulster after a tough 4-0 loss to Lisnagarvey and a prior draw with Annadale. They go to Cookstown who desperately need to start winning games to close the gap to Pembroke in eighth place.
Monkstown travel to Annadale with Peter Caruth playing against his former club for the first time after five years. Town will hope to have some of Kyle Good, Davy Carson and Ziggy Agnew back in the fold after they missed last week’s draw with Banbridge.
Town did win in midweek in the Neville Cup semi-final 6-2 against Pembroke to earn a final shot against Railway Union who won by the same scoreline against an under-strength YMCA.
Men’s EY Hockey League: Glenanne v Banbridge, 1pm, Glenanne Park; Annadale v Monkstown, 2.30pm, Lough Moss; Cookstown v Three Rock Rovers, 2.30pm, Steelweld Park; Cork C of I v Pembroke, 3.30pm, Garryduff; Railway Union v Lisnagarvey, 3.30pm, Park Avenue
Neville Cup semi-finals: Pembroke 2 (N Burns, J Ryan) Monkstown 6 (G Watkins, J Gregory, A Ward, R Sykes, I Horsfield, S Hyland); Railway Union 6 (N Tate 3, J Dick, M Nowakowski, E MacArthur) YMCA 2 (G Gibney, I Walker)