Three Rock Rovers return to domestic action following their success at the Euro Hockey League ROUND1 in Barcelona, winning through to the KO16 on goal difference.
It was fraught at times as they waited for a favour from Racing Club de France to hold Junior FC to under six goals. The Spanish side eventually won 5-1, two goals short of overhauling Rovers who advance to the KO16 of the competition next Easter.
The importance of getting through has extra significance for Irish hockey for the upcoming seasons with the EHL set to reduce from 24 to 20 teams, putting places in the competition at a premium.
The draw for the KO16 will be made on October 21 while they came back to reality on Tuesday evening with a 6-1 win over Rathgar in the Neville Cup.
Niall Denham used seven of his European panel in that tie with maiden first team goals from Matthew Walker, Sam Ryder, Luke Adams and Ali Empey but they are likely to revert to the 18 from Barcelona.
Lisnagarvey are the visitors in a repeat of the EY Champions Trophy semi-finals of the last two years. The Hillsborough club’s young cohort continue to make waves in the division since the departure of four star men to foreign shores.
Harry Morris, Troy Chambers, Andy Edgar, Johnny Lynch, Conor Quinn and Oliver Kidd are all learning their trade at this level in quick-time under the guidance of coach Errol Lutton and Jonny Bell’s vast experience.
Rob McCollum moved to Pembroke last week having been part of the Rovers panel for the first two games of the EYHL.
Elsewhere, Cookstown, who have a win and a draw to their credit at home, start a run of three road games with a trip to Dublin to face Monkstown who had a rest weekend last Saturday.
The Co Tyrone side got their 2-2 draw with Glenanne despite the absence of Greg Allen and Keith Black as they continue to develop.
Glenanne enter their tie with Pembroke as the only unbeaten side in the division but sitting one point below them after two draws and a win. It is the Glens’ first game of the season at St Andrew’s where they will be based again this season.
Banbridge will be aiming to bounce back from their 5-4 loss to Garvey last week and will be confident of doing so as they bid for a third straight home win.
They host YMCA who were frustrated not to see out their tie with Cork C of I despite having led twice and missing a stroke. Nonetheless, they have their first EYHL point on the board and they followed up with a 5-1 Sunday win in the Neville Cup against Portrane to boost their outlook.
Cork C of I’s game with Annadale has been postponed as a precautionary measure over worries over travelling conditions due to Storm Callum.
The opening day of EYHL2 means Leinster Division One’s fixture list is curtailed to two games with a northside derby between Portrane and Dublin North while Clontarf host Kilkenny.
In the cups last week, Portrane bowed out 4-3 to a late North Down goal while Dublin North came unstuck in Waterford, falling 6-1. Rathgar, though, did advance with a 3-2 win at Raphoe.
Men’s fixtures (all Saturday)
EY Hockey League: Cork C of I v Annadale – postponed; Banbridge v YMCA, 2.45pm, Havelock Park; Three Rock Rovers v Lisnagarvey, 3pm, Grange Road; Glenanne v Pembroke, 3.15pm, St Andrew’s; Monkstown v Cookstown, 4.15pm, Rathdown
Leinster Division One: Clontarf v Kilkenny, 12.30pm, Mount Temple; Portrane v Dublin North, 1.15pm, Donabate LC
Last weekend’s men’s cup results
Irish Senior Cup
Round 1: Clontarf 1 (M Duggan) South Antrim 1 (A Clarke), Clontarf won shoot-out 3-1; Kilkeel 3 (G Russell, L Russell, E Agnew) Bangor 1 (M Willis); Railway Union 1 (R Devlin) Queens 0
Round 2: Avoca 0 Belfast Harlequins 3 (L McClelland, R Quigley, S McGrath); Instonians 3 (W Robinson 2, S Kelso) UCD 4 (D Nolan 2, J Henry 2)
Irish Hockey Trophy
Round 1: Ashton 3 (C Kavanagh, C Buttimer, P Sweetnam) Newry 1 (N McKnight); North Down 4 Portrane 3 (Colin Neville, I Khan, Chris Neville); Raphoe 2 (S Cleverly, J Long) Rathgar 3 (A White, M Evans, S Thompson); UCC 3 (B Mulcahy 2, M Horgan) Cork Harlequins 2 (B Hayes Curtin, D Hobbs); Waterford 6 (B Johnson 3, I Johnson, R Isaacs, T Holub) Dublin North 1 (P Gahan)