Glenanne have the chance to move into first place when they host Annadale at St Andrew’s in one of just two men’s EY Hockey League ties on the agenda.
For the Glens, it is likely to be their last league game until the New Year with widespread cancelations with no clubs with international players required to play their matches without their star men.It means the second half of the season is looking set to be very condensed with some sides facing up to 13 league games post-Christmas.
The Glens and Dale is a tie brought forward from the New Year and sees the sides play each for the second time after a close-run 2-1 result for the Glens earlier in the campaign at Strathearn.
Between the posts, last season’s player of the year Iain Walker was in Las Vegas with James Murtagh lining out last weekend against YMCA between the posts.
The Glens have had a slightly odd set of results to date, drawing with the bottom three sides while beating the sides higher up in the table.
Annadale are playing their first league game since October 20. In the interim, they did beat Mossley 5-3 in the Kirk Cup with Callum Robson and Ryan Burgess scoring a brace each in midweek.
Barring a disastrous three-goal defeat against Belfast Harlequins, they look set to advance to the final four of that competition along with Banbridge, Instonians and Cookstown.
The Co Tyrone side are in action in Saturday’s other game, hosting a Pembroke side who can move up into the top three with a victory.
For Cookstown’s Mark Crooks, it has been a frustrating time as he feels his side should have got more than the single point garnered from trips to Annadale and Cork C of I.
“It feels funny, similar to when we played Annadale, we felt like we could’ve got more out of the game,” said Mark Crooks of the C of I side. “We are probably a bit disappointed that we didn’t get three points.
“But we fought and we fought, and we got stuck in and we came away with a point which I suppose we still have to be happy with.
“It’s been years since we got anything down there. They are a good team and we have to be happy that we picked up at least one point.”
“We just have to keep the momentum going. After Pembroke, we have a bit of a break from the EYHL so it is important that we carry the momentum that we’ve had.”
In Leinster Division One, Railway Union moved up to third on Thursday evening with a 3-1 win over Kilkenny with Richard Forrest, Simon McKeever and Rob Devlin netting.Railway are back in action against UCD on Saturday having already drawn 0-0 in the EYHL2, Stephen O’Keeffe putting in a man of the match performance.
Corinthian host fourth placed Rathgar; Avoca come up against Kilkenny, Clontarf take on Dublin North and Portrane are up against Dublin University.
The peninsula side were shy key men Chris Neville and Mukhtar Ahmed last time out and meet a student side in decent form off the back of varsities and a 5-4 win over Dublin North.
Elsewhere, there are 10 Irish Junior Cup ties on the agenda while the Irish Hockey Challenge tips off, too.
Leinster Division One: Kilkenny 1 (D Coffey) Railway Union 3 (R Forrest, S McKeever, R Devlin)
Men’s fixtures (all Saturday)
EY Hockey League: Glenanne v Annadale, 2.30pm, St Andrew’s; Cookstown v Pembroke, 2.30pm, Steelweld Park
Irish Junior Cup – Round 1: Clontarf v YMCA, 2pm, Mount Temple; Cork Harlequins v Kilkeel, 2.30pm, Farmers’ Cross; Glenanne v Corinthian, 4.15pm, Glenanne Park; Lisnagarvey v Bandon, 1pm, Comber Road; Monkstown v Dublin University, 12.20pm, Rathdown; Mossley v Rathgar, 2.30pm, The Glade; UCD v Railway Union, 1pm, Belfield
Round 2: Annadale v Banbridge, 2.30pm, Strathearn; Avoca v Belfast Harlequins, Newpark; Pembroke v Three Rock Rovers, 3.30pm, Serpentine Avenue
Irish Hockey Challenge – Round 1: Bray v Midleton, 2.30pm, Temple Carrig; Limerick v Weston, 3pm, Villiers; Mullingar v Ballynahinch, 1pm, Loreto Mullingar; North Kildare v Portrush, The Maws
Leinster Division 1: Avoca v Kilkenny, 12.30pm, Newpark; Clontarf v Dublin North, 12.30pm, Mount Temple; Corinthian v Rathgar, 12pm, Whitechurch Park; Portrane v Dublin University, Donabate LC; Railway Union v UCD, 1pm, Park Avenue
Munster Division 1: Catholic Institute v Ashton, 12.30pm, Rosbrien; UCC vs C of I B, 12pm, Mardyke; Cork Harlequins v Waterford, 4pm, Farmers’ Cross