Glenanne have their first chance to land the men’s EY Hockey League title this Saturday at Comber Road where a win against their nearest rivals would secure glory.
Facing Garvey on their home patch, though, is no mean task at the best of times without the potential white-line fever that comes with being so far ahead.
Joe Brennan’s side have nine points to spare over Garvey at the head of the division with three games left on their agenda and an unbeaten record.
The Ulster side, though, do have a game in hand and a result here could put a few jitters in the Tallaght club’s minds for the final run-in with games against Monkstown and Banbridge no gimmes.
Mental fortitude has been the Glens calling card this season, though, winning a string of games with late goals while nine wins by just a single goal show the ability to grind out results.
Both sides are coming into the tie off the back of home defeats in the Irish Senior Cup, the Glens falling to eventual champions Three Rock Rovers 5-1 while Garvey conceded twice in the first ten minutes against Pembroke and never recovered.
Rovers and Pembroke meet again six days after their cup final encounter with the latter needing to pick up points to have a chance at the end of season Champions Trophy playoffs. Banbridge are in a similar boat when they meet Cork C of I.
At the bottom, basement side Railway Union will very much be targeting their home game against an Annadale side who need one more win to be absolutely sure of safety. Cookstown, meanwhile, play on Sunday against Cork C of I in their second game of the weekend in Ulster.
Alexandra College is the venue all weekend for the first phase of the provincial playoffs with a spicy tie between Corinthian and UCD opening up the weekend. Five teams will battle it out for one place in the next stage of the promotion series
The Leinster sides are joined by UCC, Instonians and Mossley, the latter picking up a last-minute ticket when Kilkeel declined their invitation.
The Mourne Men’s club constitution does not allow them to play on Sundays and so precludes their involvement. Bangor, YMCA and Bandon all received byes to stage two of the playoffs.
The Irish Junior Cup is on Sunday with Glenanne II facing Pembroke II. The game has been moved to Grange Road from Belfield due to work being carried out at the National Stadium which has led to it being deemed unplayable by the technical officials.
Such a situation will hopefully be avoided next season with The 42 reporting today that the Belfield pitch will be replaced this summer. How much access Hockey Ireland, if any, get to the new pitch remains up in the air as it will be funded solely by UCD.
Previously, it was a joint project which allowed Hockey Ireland a specific number of hours of pitch time and first dibs on key dates. This led to UCD’s men and women renting Serpentine Avenue and Santry Avenue for their games last weekend with Belfield used for the Irish Hockey Trophy finals.
Men’s weekend fixtures
EY Hockey League: Banbridge v Cork C of I, 2.45pm, Banbridge Academy; Lisnagarvey v Glenanne, 3pm, Comber Road; Railway Union v Annadale, 2.40pm, Park Avenue; Three Rock Rovers v Pembroke Wanderers, 3pm, Grange Road
EYHL Wildcard Provincial Play-offs (all at Alexandra College): UCD v Corinthian, 10.15am; Mossley v Instonians, 11.45am; UCC v UCD, 1.30pm; Corinthian v Mossley, 3pm; Instonians v UCC, 4.45pm.
EY Hockey League: Cookstown v Cork Church of Ireland, 2.30pm,Steelweld Park.
EYHL Wildcard ProvincialPlay-offs (all at Alexandra College): Mossley v UCD, 9.45am; Corinthian v Instonians, 11.15am; UCC v Mossley, 1pm; Instonians v UCD, 2.30pm; Corinthian v UCC, 4.15pm
Irish Junior Cup final: Glenanne II v Pembroke Wanderers II, 4pm, Three Rock Rovers
Munster Senior Cup final: Bandon v Limerick, 2.30pm, Garryduff
Munster Cork Cup final: Catholic Institute v Waterford, 12.30pm, Garryduff.