Belfast Quins and Pembroke hope to finally beat the frost

After almost three months, Belfast Harlequins and Pembroke will hope they can finally get the go-ahead for their Irish Senior Cup second round date at Deramore Park.

The tie was originally scheduled for November 25 but has been pushed back a number of times due to the big freeze, leaving Cork Harlequins lying in wait in the last eight. The overnight forecast for Belfast of between 2 to 4 degrees, though, means it will be touch and go.

On paper, it is a reasonably well-matched tie between seventh and eighth place in the table with both sides coming off disappointing results a week ago. Quins were hit for five by UCD while Pembroke had a glut of chances with plenty of speed in the turnover but could not fully dispatch Trinity and drew 2-2.

Railway Union against Loreto is another close-run thing, especially after two draws in the league – 1-1 and 0-0 – as they sit fourth and fifth, respectively. Indeed, both come into the game off the back of 2-0 wins, showing this one could go the distance.

UCD were without the injured Emma Russell last week but should prove too strong for Lurgan who sit third in the Ulster Premier League.

Elsewhere, Ards lost their opening two games in the EuroHockey Indoor Club Trophy in Prague, falling 5-0 to the hosts and 2-0 to Croatia’s HAHK Mladost. They complete theor group phase against Lithuania’s Gintra Strekte.

Mossley host Cork C of I with each bidding to be the last side to take up a place in the Irish Hockey Trophy semi-finals. In the Challenge, NUIG face NICS in the semi-final at Dangan.

In Leinster Division One, the top four face off with Corinthian and Old Alex’s meeting guaranteeing that there will be some sort of shake-up. The reds won the first meeting, stunning Alex with a 2-0 win which threw the cat among the pigeons.

Since Christmas, Corinthian have not been quite a free-flowing in 2018 but remain unbeaten in the league, edging single-goal wins over Rathgar and Clontarf in the past two weeks while they have drawn with Our Lady’s and North Kildare.

Alex’s seven-game winning streak was abruptly ended by Muckross two weekends ago but they bounced back with a 4-0 win at Genesis.

Genesis face leaders Muckross who are on a seven-game winning streak of their own. The top three are all but assured of a ticket to the EYHL promotion playoffs.

How the IHL2 places play out, however, still has plenty of twists and turns. With three Leinster teams at the bottom of the EYHL, should two be relegated in May just the winner of the provincial league will be guaranteed an IHL2 place.

It means top spot is a crucial position to chase in the remaining weeks of the season.

Women’s weekend fixtures (all Saturday)
Irish Senior Cup – quarter-finals: Lurgan v UCD, Lurgan Junior H.S., 2.30pm; Railway Union v Loreto, Railway Union HC, 12.40pm.
Round 2: Belfast Harlequins v Pembroke Wanderers, Belfast Harlequins HC, 2.30pm.

Irish Hockey Trophy – quarter final: Mossley v Cork Church of Ireland, Mossley HC, 4pm.

Irish Hockey Challenge, semi-final: NUIG v NICS, Dangan Sports Ground, 1pm.

Leinster Division One: Avoca v Clontarf, 12.30pm, Newpark; Our Ladys v North Kildare, 1pm, Terenure; Muckross v Genesis, 1.30pm, Muckross Park; Corinthian v Old Alex, 2.30pm, Whitechurch Park; Rathgar v Glenanne, 2.30pm, High School

Munster Division 1: Bandon v Ashton, Bandon Grammar Sch., 3.30pm; Catholic Institute v Belvedere, Rosbrien, 12pm; Waterford v Limerick, Newtown Sch., 12.30pm.

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