Leinster leaders the sides to beat indoors; Glens and Corinthian’s Mills rematch

Leinster’s top two will likely be the sides to beat in the men’s National Indoor Trophy as the Antrim Forum gears up for its grand finale.

Reigning champions Three Rock produced a fine second half performance a week ago to beat Railway Union 6-4 with doubles from Jody Hosking and Ross Canning both scoring twice.

Three Rock Rovers with the Tony Byrne Cup. Pic: Tristan Seaton-Stedham

Both went through to the semis as a result, Rovers facing Munster’s first champions for over 30 years, Limerick, while Railway face the Ulster winners, Cookstown.

The Co Tyrone side won the Ulster Indoor Championship title for the second time in two years with a winner-takes-all victory over Banbridge at Queen’s University PEC on Sunday.

They won that tie 4-2 with goals from Jack Haycock, Mark Crooks, Stu Smyth and Michael Kerr having earlier drawn with Queen’s 3-3 and beaten North Down 6-1.

Whether those three games, played on one day, will be enough to prepare them for a well-heeled Railway – led by recently appointed Irish indoor coach Kenny Carroll – remains to be seen.

Three Rock, meanwhile, have enjoyed big numbers at their base in St Columba’s in the past few weeks as they compete for places on the plane to Oslo for the Europeans.

Liam Canning can call upon Irish outdoor internationals Ben Walker, Jamie Carr and Luke Madeley while Scottish man Jack McAllister looks adept on the boards.

Outdoors, on Sunday, Glenanne take on Corinthian in a rematch of last year’s Mills Cup semi-final with the reds hoping to repeat their surprise 4-2 success of a year ago.

The Glens made it to this stage having eliminated YMCA last week 7-2 with something to spare.

That tie saw Stephen Brownlow score on the double alongside a couple of Shannon Boucher drag-flicks. There was also a debut goal for former Belgian Under-21 international Jerome Saeys – formerly of KHC Dragons and Club de Campo in Madrid – in his first game for the first team, nailing a drag-flick.

Corinthian’s Johnny Roberts in action against Glenanne. Pic: Adrian Boehm

He will be eligible to play in national level competitions having fulfilled Hockey Ireland’s stipulation for new players transferring to Irish clubs.

They require a new player to play at least one club game before December 31. Saeys played for the Glens’ third team in Division 5 against Dublin University in December.

The reds got their second half of the season up and running with a 4-1 win over Clontarf a week ago and will hope Ian Stewart can carry on his breathtaing form.

On Saturday, two back matches in Leinster Division One are on the agenda. UCD will hope that a sprinkler issue during the week will not carry through to game day and cause the cancelation of their game with Kilkenny.

The cats got their first point since September last weekend and could draw some confidence from the travails UCD had against Portrane a week ago before winning out late on.

Rathgar and Dublin University probably need a perfect set of results to earn a place in the top three this season. The former are seven points away while Trinity have 12 points to make up but two games in hand.

Men’s fixtures
Saturday
Leinster Division 1: Rathgar v Dublin University, 12.30pm, High School; UCD v Kilkenny, 1pm, Belfield

Munster Division 1: Catholic Institute v Bandon, 12pm, Rosbrien; Cork C of I B v Cork Harlequins, 3pm, Garryduff; UCC v Waterford, 12pm, Mardyke

Sunday
Mills Cup semi-final: Glenanne v Corinthian, 3pm, Booterstown

National Indoor Trophy (all at Antrim Forum)
Semi-finals: Limerick v Three Rock Rovers, 11.30am; Cookstown v Railway Union, 12.30pm
Final: 4.45pm

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