A couple of big guns are set to fall in round two of the men’s Irish Senior Cup as four of the EY Hockey League top five meet in Ulster this Saturday in a couple of mouth-watering ties.
At Comber Road, Lisnagarvey meet Monkstown in a repeat of last year’s dramatic final. Town were the only side to beat Garvey across the whole of last season, claiming the cup on strokes while they scored an early season league win.
This time around, they face a Garvey side in slightly patchy form with recent losses against Banbridge and Glenanne to go with a scrambled last-minute draw against Three Rock Rovers.
The hosts will hope their international quintet – including teenager Matthew Nelson – will have come through the midweek trip to Spain unscathed. They will also be looking to start taking chances once again as the absence of Mikey Watt and Timmy Cockram – who has yet to play this term – has been felt.
Just Lee Cole was involved in the Irish team this week from Monkstown but they have bounced back well from their only defeat of the season, beating Pembroke and UCD in confident fashion.
It has seen them rise to the top of the EYHL table with multiple threats up front from Kyle Good, Lee Cole on corners, Gareth Watkins and Davy Carson.
Just down the road, Banbridge host Three Rock Rovers who are making their fourth trip north of the season already, hoping to breakdown the Co Down side after some close-run ties in recent times.
Ross Canning could return after he missed Rovers date with Pembroke while Bann are without Ross Beattie. Neil Gilmore, however, has returned to the club after a spell back at Portadown.
Bann trailed at half-time in the league earlier this season before scoring a 4-2 win late in the game. Neither side have lost since then and so it is a meeting of two sides in strong form.
Corinthian’s eye-catching start to the season is put to the test when they face Glenanne, a game that will give a good idea of the gap between EYHL and the Leinster league.
David Howard (16) and Jonny Bruton (12) have combined for a massive 28 goals already and the Glens will know they cannot concede too many corners given their opponents’ potency. For the Tallaght, last weekend’s first win of the campaign, against the reigning champions, will provide a big boost.
Kilkenny, as Irish Hockey Trophy champions, earned their return to the Irish Senior Cup. They are heavy underdogs against a UCD side for whom Jeremy Duncan will be back on his old stomping ground.
Railway Union go north to Mossley while YMCA go south to Cork C of I to meet the bang-in-form Garryduff side – with former YM man Stephen Parker – who have not been beaten since the first day of the season.
Dublin University against Cookstown in Santry with the Co Tyrone club’s striker Andy McWhirter knowing they have a battle in front of them.
“I don’t know a lot about Trinity as a team but I suppose like all university outfits they won’t know when they are beaten and, if we let them get a sniff of a win, they will make it a really difficult afternoon.
“They seem to be doing pretty well in Leinster Division One, running YMCA close last weekend and picking up points on the road. Their only big defeat was to Corinthian at the beginning of October.
“But if we can get the little things right and be a bit braver in their circle I think you’ll see our name in the hat for the quarters.”
Annadale play Instonians in an Ulster-derby. For Inst, they have missed the goals of Alan Patterson this season who is on the long road back from serious spinal injuries. A fund is currently being set-up to help him with the costs which could run to £300,000.
Just one Leinster Division One tie is on the agenda with Fingal meeting Clontarf while there is an Irish Hockey Challenge derby with Division 3’s Bray facing Division 5’s Wicklow. Portrane travel to Galway and Division 4 high-fliers Mullingar go down to Waterford.
Men’s Saturday fixtures
Irish Senior Cup, second round: Lisnagarvey v Monkstown, 3pm, Comber Road; Banbridge v Three Rock Rovers, 2.45pm, Havelock Park; Annadale v Instonians, 2.30pm, Lough Moss; Cork C of I v YMCA, 2.30pm, Garryduff; Kilkenny v UCD, 1.30pm, Kilkenny College; Mossley v Railway Union, 2.30pm, The Glade; Corinthian v Glenanne, 12.15pm, Whitechurch Park; Dublin University v Cookstown, 1pm, Santry Avenue.
Leinster Division One: Fingal v Clontarf, 1pm, NSC
Irish Hockey Challenge, first round: Bray v Wicklow, 3pm, Temple Carrig; Galway v Portrane, 1.30pm, Dangan; Waterford v Mullingar, 1pm, Newtown; Catholic Institute v Midleton, 12pm, Rosbrien