The men’s EYHL weekend faces the intriguing prospect of four rematches seven days after they met in the reverse fixtures, an opportunity for coaches and video analysts to test their mettle.
Indeed, Glenanne and Banbridge’s title hopes intertwine for the second successive week in the men’s EY Hockey League as two former leaders look to keep up the chase of Lisnagarvey.
Unbeaten in all competitions two weeks ago, the Glens have endured their toughest patch with losses to Three Rock Rovers in both the league and the Mills Cup final.
For Bann, they have just one point from nine and have exited the Irish Senior Cup in the last month as their form has dissipated completely.
That point came in a battling 3-3 draw between the two sides with David Rae’s hat trick denying the Glens the spoils in the last minute.
Nonetheless, the close-run nature of the league means both are still in the hunt with Glenanne second on goal difference and Bann three points back with a game in hand. Lose again, though, and it would be a critical blow to their chances.
They are unlikely to get a favour from leaders Lisnagarvey who face Cork C of I for the second time in a week with the Ulster side winning the first leg 8-2.
YMCA are another with a large defeat to try and turn around following a 7-1 defeat against Monkstown seven days ago.
Three Rock Rovers have hit form of late with seven wins in a row in all competitions and they will look to repeat their 6-3 success against Annadale. They had the game seemingly done and dusted at half-time but Callum Robson inspired a trio of goals to narrow the gap and give confidence for this week’s tussle.Pembroke dropped out of the top four for the first time last weekend and so will need to keep up the pressure on Rovers with a positive result when they host Cookstown.
In Leinster Division One, most eyes will be on Corinthian and UCD’s meeting at Whitechurch Park where second play third. UCD’s title charge has been derailed by losses to Avoca and Clontarf as injuries have bitten hard while the reds have only dropped two points since the turn of the year, scoring 17 in their last two games.
Railway Union will aim to avoid any slips in Santry against mid-table Dublin University; Clontarf meet Portrane, Dublin North face Avoca and Kilkenny take on Rathgar in the other games.
In Munster, there is a mathematical possibility of Harlequins winning Munster’s Division One should they beat basement side UCC at home. Waterford need to beat Cork C of I B to keep the chase alive.
Men’s weekend fixtures (Saturday unless stated)
EY Hockey League: Annadale v Three Rock Rovers, Strathearn, 2.30pm; Banbridge v Glenanne, Havelock Park, 2.45pm; Cork C of I v Lisnagarvey, Garryduff, 1pm; Pembroke Wanderers v Cookstown, Serpentine Avenue, 2pm; YMCA v Monkstown, Wesley College, 3.15pm
Leinster Division 1
Saturday: Clontarf v Portrane, Mount Temple, 12pm; Corinthian v UCD, St. Columba’s College, 12.45pm; Dublin North v Avoca, National Sports Campus, 12pm; Dublin University v Railway Union, Park Avenue, 12.30pm; Kilkenny v Rathgar, Kilkenny College, 1.30pm
Sunday: Dublin University v Avoca, St. Andrews College, 2.30pm
Munster Division 1: Ashton v Bandon, Ashton School, 12.15pm; Cork C of I B v Waterford, Garryduff, 3pm; Cork Harlequins v UCC, Farmers’ Cross, 1.30pm