Glenanne’s men start a new departure on Saturday as they make the move from the club’s spiritual west Dublin base to St Andrew’s College for their home games this season.
They will avail of the waterbased pitch at the school, the surface that nine of the ten clubs in the top division will use this term. And they will look to build on their productive trip to Cork last weekend when Richie Shaw returned after a two-year break to net twice in a win over C of I.
Cookstown are the visitors to Booterstown and welcome back defensive duo Jack Haycock and Matthew Rollins
Both men missed the opener at Steelweld Park against Pembroke Wanderers and will add ballast to the Cookstown back four as the Reds target their first points of the year.
“Our aim is to put together a performance like the one we put in during the second half last week against Pembroke,” said Cookstown Captain Jonny Ames.
“We were a bit too tentative at the start, with passes going astray and a few clumsy challenges. That, I think, allowed Pembroke to rule the first two quarters.
“We’ve had some humdingers down at Tallaght over the years, so we are expecting them to throw the kitchen sink at us. If we can continue the upward trend from the Pembroke game and maybe add a bit, I think we’ll be in with a very good chance of points.”
Three games take place on Sunday as part of the EY Hockey League’s endeavours to reach out to a wider live audience, one of the central tenets of the feedback from the league’s survey toward the end of last season.
The hope is playing games away from the traditional Saturday afternoon slot will mean less clashes with junior club games meant and potentially larger audience.
Cork C of I are hosting for a second successive week, welcoming Annadale to Garryduff. They do so with Phillip Byrne in their line-up following his move from Glenanne, facing the side he played with last term on debut last week.
Monkstown will be without Andrew Ward for their game against Pembroke Wanderers on home turf, the striker away for the weekend in Barcelona. With Gareth Watkins out injured and Kyle Good elsewhere, it raises the importance of Davy Carson and Geoff Cole up top.
The Dublin derby is a prime one for fast, counter-attacking hockey with plenty of intertwined careers on show. There could be as many as seven former Cork C of I men on show with Jason and Karl Lynch facing their former Dublin club.
Pembroke coach Jonny Caren made the opposite switch a couple of seasons ago and he will have Kirk Shimmins in full flow.
The midfielder was in New Zealand until just a couple of days before the new Irish season where he helped the Tiger Turf North Harbour team to a first title since 2009. Shimmins netted against both Southern and Northland en route to their final against Auckland.
The gold looked set to be beyond them, trailing 3-1 with eight minutes to go only for a rush of four goals in quick succession to earn North Harbour a 5-4 victory. Along with Alan Sothern, Shimmins will be instrumental in how Pembroke go this year in closing the gap to the top four with this tie a key one for their hopes.
At Railway Union, Three Rock Rovers will have a bit of defensive reshuggle on their hands with Luke Madeley taking a lusty collision last weekend against Annadale, leaving him in a protective boot.
They take on a reshuffled Railway side this season seeking to bounce back after their opening 4-0 loss to Banbridge. Lisnagarvey’s date with Banbridge is off due to the latter’s involvement in the EHL in Barcelona.
EHL ROUND1 (Pau Negre Stadium, Barcelona)
Saturday: Banbridge v WKS Grunwald Poznan, 11.30am (Irish time)
Sunday: Banbridge v Royal Racing Club de Bruxelles, 10.45am
EY Hockey League
Saturday: Glenanne v Cookstown, 4pm, St Andrews College
Sunday: Cork Church of Ireland v Annadale, 1pm, Garryduff; Monkstown v Pembroke Wanderers, 2.20pm, Merrion Fleet Arena; Railway Union v Three Rock Rovers, 2.40pm, Park Avenue
Leinster Division One
Saturday: UCD v Avoca, 11.15am, Belfield; Weston v Dublin North, 12pm, Griffeen Valley Park; Rathgar v Clontarf, 12.30pm, High School; Kilkenny v Corinthian, 2pm, Kilkenny College; YMCA v Dublin University, 2pm, Wesley College
Sunday: Clontarf v Dublin University, 2pm, Mount Temple
Munster Division One
Saturday: UCC v Cork C of I B, 2.30pm, The Mardyke; Ashton v Limerick, 3pm, Blackrock Road; Bandon v Harlequins, 3pm, Bandon Grammar School