Lisnagarvey will be aiming to repeat last Sunday’s Irish Senior Cup win over Glenanne to make a massive step toward a second EYHL title.
It looks to be the Comber Road club’s toughest test from their three-game run-in with the Glens with just two games left on their card to try and defend the title.
Garvey have a three-point advantage at this late stage in the competition over the Glens and Banbridge who will look to keep the pressure on.
Bann travel to a Pembroke side smarting from their 8-1 loss to Three Rock Rovers which punched a big hole in their playoff hopes after sitting in the top four for so long.
Pembroke have missed the services of Keith O’Hare and look to be understrength again for the first of two meetings in seven days with the Co Down side.
There are also massive games in the relegation shake-up. Cork C of I gave themselves a massive boost last weekend when they beat Cookstown 3-2, their first EYHL win in 15 months.
It trims their gap to Cookstown and YMCA to three points and they need to back it up with a good haul in back-to-back games this weekend against Monkstown – Saturday in Cork, Sunday in Rathdown.
It is yet another awkward quirk in this strange season from a fixtures perspective following the World Cup. Indeed, for C of I, the side with the most travel to make, it will be their fourth double weekend since the start of February with plenty of miles on the odometers.YMCA will hope to take advantage of Annadale’s slump in form. Their last win came on February 2, seven games ago, but a draw would ensure they would have less late season relegation concerns to deal with.
Three Rock will copper-fasten a place in the EY Champions Trophy if they get a win at Cookstown, putting them out of range of Pembroke regardless of their result against Bann.
On Friday evening in EYHL 2, Instonians beat Kilkeel 1-0 with Ben Palmer touching in from Mikie Watt’s initial shot in the final quarter for the only goal of the evening.
It puts them level with Corinthian on points and goal difference but with the reds left with one game to go – Saturday’s home game against basement side UCC.
Corinthian had a dramatic win in midweek in Leinster Division One against Rathgar, succeeding 3-2 with two goals in the last ten minutes.
Josh Greaney opened the scoring before Rathgar leveled before half time via Ricky McMahon and Andy Malcolm put them 2-1 ahead midway through the second half.
Conor Quinn was exceptional for Gar as they kept Corinthian at bay while they lined out with a smart gameplan to make life difficult.
It required three very good goals to undo them, two coming in the last 10 minutes when Ian Stewart scored with a drive left from the top of the D and a reverse to match. With four minutes left, David Howard scored a screamer of a corner.
The result means Corinthian need a draw from their final game of the season against Dublin University on April 13. UCD are the only side that can mathematically catch them but are three points and 15 goals on goal difference back.
For UCD, the EYHL2 probably becomes a more pressing concern. They are already through to the semi-finals along with Railway Union and so their games with Bandon and Bangor this weekend are solely to decide top spot.
Men’s weekend fixtures (Saturday unless stated)
EY Hockey League
Saturday: Cookstown v Three Rock Rovers, Steelweld Park, 2.30pm; Cork C of I v Monkstown, Garryduff, 2.30pm; Lisnagarvey v Glenanne, Comber Road, 3pm; Pembroke v Banbridge, Serpentine Avenue, 2pm; YMCA v Annadale, Wesley College, 3.15pm
Sunday: Monkstown v Cork C of I, ALD Merrion Fleet Arena, 2.30pm
EYHL 2 Pool A: Bandon v Railway Union, Bandon GS, 2pm; Bangor v UCD, Bangor Aurora, 2.30pm
Pool B, Friday: Instonians 1 (J Palmer) Kilkeel 0
Saturday: Corinthian v UCC, St. Columba’s College, 1pm
Leinster Division 1: Kilkenny v Portrane, Kilkenny College, 1pm
Munster Charity Cup – Round 5: Ashton v Catholic Institute, Ashton School, 10.45am; Cork Harlequins v Waterford, Farmers’ Cross, 2.30pm
Cork Cup Final: Midleton v Limerick, Crescent Comp. Sch.