Eight EY Hockey League teams will make their entry to the Irish Senior Cup in the rejigged format this weekend against six regional contenders, bidding to join Glenanne in the last eight.
The Glens eased to victory over Monkstown last week 3-0 with Shannon Boucher, Sam O’Connor and Eddie O’Malley on the mark at Rathdown in a tie brought forward a week.
Three Rock Rovers are in a potentially vulnerable position as they begin the defence of the trophy with a home date against Annadale.
The Rathfarnham club will be shy the services of World Cup-bound Daragh Walsh, Luke Madeley and Mitch Darling, taking away a central element of each line of their formation.
Dale come to Dublin off a middling campaign to date but they did raid Grange Road for a point on their last visit and have Irish internationals Peter Caruth and Callum Robson available to them.
Rovers are the most affected side by the World Cup with Banbridge shy Eugene Magee for their trip to Corinthian while Lisnagarvey face Kilkenny in Jonny Bell’s absence.
The other intriguing ties feature struggling EYHL sides against high-flying regional teams. Cork C of I and YMCA have both yet to win on the national stage this term.
They meet UCD and Kilkeel, respectively, who have both not lost in their provincial leagues and will eye these round three dates as a chance of an upset.
Pembroke are clear favourites against Clontarf while Cookstown will fancy their chances against Belfast Harlequins who have just one win from nine outings.
“We shall not be getting ahead of ourselves,” Cookstown’s Mattie Rollins said of their tie. “The main thing for us will be to concentrate of getting all the details right against Harlequins, keeping to our gameplan, and then putting away our chances when they arrive.
“I know they have had a pretty tough start to the league this season, but that will just make Harlequins all the more keen to have a real go against us in the cup.”
The second round of the Irish Hockey Trophy is also in action with Rathgar the sole Leinster side left, going to high-flying Munster side Ashton who lead the way in their regional league.
Sunday sees the Neville Cup semi-finals with Corinthian hosting Clontarf and Kilkenny up against Three Rock Rovers.
Men (Saturday unless stated)
Irish Senior Cup – Round 3: Belfast Harlequins v Cookstown, 4pm, Deramore Park; Corinthian v Banbridge, 3.30pm, Whitechurch Park; Cork C of I v UCD, 2.30pm, Garryduff; Kilkeel v YMCA, 1pm, Macauley Park; Pembroke v Clontarf, 230pm, Serpentine Avenue; Three Rock Rovers v Annadale, 3pm, Grange Road; Lisnagarvey v Kilkenny, 3pm, Comber Road
Irish Hockey Trophy – Round 2: Ashton v Rathgar, 2.30pm, Ashton School; NICS v Catholic Institute, 2.30pm, Stormont; North Down v Portadown, 2.40pm, Comber LC; Waterford v UCC, 2.30pm, Newtown School
Neville Cup semi-finals (Sunday): Corinthian v Clontarf, 2.30pm, Whitechurch Park; Kilkenny v Three Rock Rovers, 4pm, Kilkenny College