C of I and YMCA target first wins of EYHL campaign

Matters at the bottom of the men’s EY Hockey League, for the most part, take centre stage this weekend as the schedule is trimmed to two games due to the international series in Valencia.

Cork C of I and YMCA will be hoping they can land their respective first victories of the campaign when they take on Cookstown and Glenanne at home, respectively.

For C of I, the key task remains to find more goals from play to replace those of Julian Dale. Defensively, they have conceded the second lowest in the division – albeit with a game less played than most – but are the lowest scorers in the league with three of their six goals coming from set plays.

For Cookstown, they are two points better off and have the benefit of a midweek 3-0 win over Bangor in the bag to build some confidence.

Skipper Greg Allen says they are in a good place despite succumbing to a late loss against Ulster rivals Annadale last time out.

“We played some really good stuff against Annadale last time out, but just couldn’t finish the job when we had taken the lead. Cork will be going all guns blazing to beat us at Garryduff on Saturday and we’ll have to meet that and then see if we can stamp our own mark on the game.

“We’ve had a week off due to the Intervarsities tournament, but I think that will help prepare us for this big week of games. Thankfully, we have been able to bring a big squad of players together this season and I’d think that will help us get two wins from the matches.”

Since a chastening opening day 7-1 defeat to Cookstown, YMCA have proven far more competitive in recent weeks, running Banbridge, Three Rock and Lisnagarvey close.

Sam Hyland has been a strong force, working with Ben Campbell down the spine of the team, while Grant Glutz’s corners are a strong scoring outlet. Like C of I, though, they have struggled for goals from play with five of their seven league goals being either strokes or corners.

Glenanne have the one unbeaten record left in the league but YM can look at the two games they have dropped points in – away to Cookstown and C of I – as reasons for optimism with the reigning champions unable to put away the sides at the bottom.

YMCA’s Sam Hyland. Pic: Sinead Hingston

EYHL Division 2 enters day two with UCD going down to Bandon following their fifth place finish in the intervarsities with both sides looking to get their first win. Bangor host Railway Union in the other tie in Pool 1.

The highlight is probably the meeting of Corinthian and Instonians, the two winners from the opening day of the competition. UCC face Kilkeel in the other Pool 2 tie.

Just one game goes ahead in Leinster Division One with Dublin North and Trinity meeting, the students following on from their promotion back up to the top tier of the intervarsities.

The Neville Cup, meanwhile, is at the quarter-final stage on Sunday. Avoca earned a reprieve following their initial defeat to Pembroke who fell foul of the updated rules for this cup this season with players required to be eligible to play in the Leinster leagues Division 1-7.

Men’s fixtures (Saturday unless stated)
EY Hockey League: Cork C of I v Cookstown, 1pm, Garryduff; YMCA v Glenanne, 2.15pm, Wesley

EYHL Division 2
Pool 1: Bandon v UCD, 2pm, Bandon GS; Bangor v Railway Union, 2.30pm, Bangor Aurora
Pool 2: Corinthian v Instonians, 2.30pm, Whitechurch Park; UCC v Kilkeel, 2pm, Mardyke

Leinster Division One: Dublin North v Dublin University, 2.30pm, NSC

Munster Charity Cup: Cork C of I B v Waterford, 3pm, Garryduff; Catholic Institute v Cork Harlequins, 12.30pm, Rosbrien

Neville Cup (Sunday): Clontarf v YMCA, 3pm, Mount Temple; Corinthian v Avoca, 4.30pm, Whitechurch Park; Kilkenny v Glenanne, 3pm, Kilkenny College; Three Rock Rovers v Monkstown, 2pm, Grange Road

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