After a couple of aborted attempts, the Irish Senior Cup quarter-finalists will hopefully be finalised with three second round matches on the agenda while Mossley and Pembroke will bid to be the first into the semis.
That pairing won through last Saturday with Pembroke travelling north for the second of three successive road trips up the M1. The first saw them hold off a concerted South Antrim comeback with Alan Sothern’s double ultimately keeping them out of range, boosting his goal tally on the national stage to 20.
Ricky Lee’s Mossley have been in good form in Ulster with just one defeat in the Premier League, Kirk Cup and Irish Senior Cup all told with former international Simon Todd lending crucial experience.
In the second round games, Cookstown travel to Grange Road to play Three Rock Rovers, facing a side that have scored more goals than any other team and have conceded fewer.
The Co Tyrone side, though, can perhaps draw some positives in that Rovers have been more vulnerable at home, losing twice there while having a perfect record on the road, winning four times in Ulster before Christmas.
“They are a superb team all round,” said Cookstown defender Daniel Crooks. “We will need to be at our very best from the start of the game. The winter break came at pretty much the wrong time for us, I think, as we were starting to find our stride. The aim is to get back to that same mentality that got us those points as quickly as possible.”Positive results against Annadale, Lisnagarvey and Monkstown, including a win against Railway Union, was interrupted by a 4-1 home defeat to Three Rock in November.
“It was a very intense match last time out against Three Rock. They started with a high press and that put us under serious pressure in defence. We got back into the game, but were caught out by a couple of mistakes which took the result away from us.
“I’ve noticed that we have ended almost every game we’ve played on top so hopefully, if we can stay with them on Saturday going into the last quarter, we can come away with what would be a very special result.”
Glenanne will be heavy favourites when they go north to take on Queen’s – eighth place in the Ulster Premier – while Lisnagarvey meet Railway Union. This will be their third attempt to get the tie played following two frozen dates.
The Irish Hockey Trophy second round is also on the cards with Kilkenny travelling to Stormont to play an NICS side who have seen top scorer Chris Barnes return to Instonians.
The other two ties feature Ulster clubs with North Down playing Raphoe and Portadown against Linden Cup winners Bangor.
Leinster Division One has four games on the weekend card to start the new year. Clontarf need a result against UCD if they are to have a shot at a third successive year in the promotion playoffs.
Avoca and Dublin University are in a similar boat for their meeting on Saturday while the Blackrock club will also look to break Corinthian’s unbeaten run on Sunday.
The indoor semi-finals take place on Sunday evening at St Columba’s with Three Rock facing Pembroke and Railway taking on Glenanne.
Men’s fixtures (Saturday unless stated)
Irish Senior Cup – Quarter Final: Mossley v Pembroke Wanderers, 2.30pm, The Glade.
Round two: Lisnagarvey v Railway Union, 3pm, Comber Road; Queens University v Glenanne, 2.30pm, Malone Playing Fields; Three Rock Rovers v Cookstown, 3pm, Grange Road
Irish Hockey Trophy, round two: NICS v Kilkenny, 2.30pm, Stormont; North Down v Raphoe, 2.40pm, Comber LC; Portadown v Bangor, 1pm, Edenvilla SC.
Leinster Division One
Saturday: Avoca v Dublin University, 12.30pm, Newpark; Clontarf v UCD, 1pm, Mount Temple; Rathgar v Weston, 4pm, High School
Sunday: Corinthian v Avoca, 4.30pm, Newpark
Leinster Indoor League, semi-finals (Sunday): Three Rock Rovers v Pembroke, 5.30pm; Railway Union v Glenanne, 6.15pm
Munster Division 1: Cork Church of Ireland B v UCC, 3.30pm, Garryduff; Cork Harlequins v Bandon, 1pm, Farmers’ Cross; Limerick v Ashton, 12pm, Villiers.