Banbridge and Three Rock Rovers will be checking the smart-phones at regular intervals on Saturday from 3pm for good news as they enter the final day of the season level on 42 points.
For Bann, they have the advantage on goal difference but it continues their hectic schedule with Jamie Wright popping a hamstring last weekend at the Euro Hockey League in Eindhoven. Hugh McShane is also unavailable for the tie but Gareth Lennox could return between the posts having missed the EHL as he attended to his son spending time in hospital.
They face a Railway Union side battling to avoid the relegation playoff game, sitting one point above UCD. They will be without Kenny Carroll who is suspended following three yellow cards and the Park Avenue outfit will hope for improved discipline after their 5-4 loss against Pembroke came with five yellow cards to boot.
A win for Banbridge will leave Three Rock needing to out-score their result by six goals. Anything less and Rovers just need a win against already relegated Instonians.
The Dubliners will hope that they face the Inst side that fell 10-0 to Lisnagarvey rather than the one that held up solid resistance against Monkstown a day later. Rovers are at full strength for the tie and are unbeaten in the league since the opening day of the campaign and have won 10 in a row.
Monkstown, meanwhile, look all but assured of a place in the EY Champions Trophy – along with Bann, Rovers and Lisnagarvey – following a 4-0 midweek win over Pembroke.
Davy Carson continued his excellent form as their key man up front. He scored the opening goal in the 16th minute from a corner rebound. Pembroke had a good spell of pressure in the second quarter with Keith Crawford going close and David Fitzgerald making some fine saves.
But a gem of a strike from Carson doubled the advantage in the third quarter and he completed his triple with an excellent shot for 3-0. Geoff Cole completed the win with five minutes to go.
The result moved them three points clear of Cork C of I in fourth with 17 goals in the bank on goal difference. It means anything other than a very heavy defeat to Lisnagarvey – for whom Jonny Bell went off with a hamstring injury against Atletic Terrassa – and a huge win for Cork C of I away to Glenanne will put them into the playoffs.
An injury-hit UCD will hope Pembroke will have already clocked out for the season when they meet at Belfield. Pembroke will not have Jonny Caren on the sidelines as he continues to serve a three-game ban.
The students need a win – or a draw and an eight goal loss for Railway – to have a chance of avoiding the relegation playoff. All of Saturday’s games are set for 3pm to prevent any inkling of mutually beneficial collusion from around the grounds.
Men’s EY Hockey League
Tuesday: Pembroke 0 Monkstown 4 (D Carson 3, G Cole)
Saturday: Banbridge v Railway Union, 3pm, Havelock Park; Glenanne v Cork C of I, 3pm, Glenanne Park; Lisnagarvey v Monkstown, 3pm, Comber Road; Pembroke v UCD, 3pm, Serpentine Avenue; Three Rock Rovers v Instonians, 3pm, Grange Road