Bottom half looking to avoid being cut adrift by top five at midway point

The bottom half meet the top half in the men’s EY Hockey League with the likes of Pembroke, Glenanne and Corinthian hoping they can start bridging the five-point gap that has emerged in the middle.

Perhaps the most intriguing prospect is the battle between Pembroke and Three Rock Rovers with two wildly inconsistent sides meeting at Serpentine Avenue.

The hosts were surprisingly in ninth place over the winter break but bounced back last weekend to hammer Annadale 6-2 with Olympian Alan Sothern netting all of their goals.

With Harry Spain closing in on a return to their defence, they will be bolstered significantly but they are missing the services of his partner in crime Keith O’Hare.

For fifth placed Rovers, Conor Quinn is back to vye for the goalkeeping duties with Shane O’Brien but Ali Haughton and Jack McAllister look set to miss out this weekend.

Banbridge’s in-form Jonny McKee comes up against Glenanne’s Stephen Brownlow. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Corinthian go to Belfield to face their fellow promoted side UCD at Belfield. The reds have proven very difficult to beat but five draws from eight games means they are not further up the table, late concessions their Achilles heel.

High-flying UCD will be without Andrew Meates who has a ban following his red card last weekend against Glenanne.

The Glens, meanwhile, host an in-form Banbridge with four wins out of their five outings to their name, breaking into the top four for the first time this week.

The remaining two ties are, on paper, potentially one-sider affairs. Bottom side Annadale host Monkstown with the former having lost seven on the trot, conceding 48 times.

YMCA lost 8-0 last week against Bann and now face the league’s most ferocious forward line in Lisnagarvey who average over five a game.

In Leinster, Bray host Weston with both seeking their first win of the season; Clontarf have a tester against in form Rathgar at The High School while Railway Union aim to keep up the pressure when they go to Dublin North.

In midweek, Railway’s tie with Weston was abandoned at 2-0 on Tuesday due to a frozen pitch. Tarf, though, beat Dublin North 8-3 with Kevin Mullins and Kevin Murray scoring two each.

Men 

EYHL Division 1: Annadale v Monkstown, Strathearn School, 4pm; Glenanne v Banbridge, St Andrews, 2.45pm; Pembroke v Three Rock Rovers, Serpentine Avenue, 4pm; UCD v Corinthian, Belfield, 1pm; YMCA v Lisnagarvey, Wesley College, 4pm

Irish Hockey Challenge: Antrim v Portrush, Antrim Forum, 1pm; Midleton v Limerick, Midleton College, 3.30pm; Mullingar v Galway, Loreto Mullingar, 1pm

Leinster Division 1: Avoca v Kilkenny, Newpark, 12.30pm; Bray v Weston, Temple Carrig, 12pm; Dublin North v Railway Union, NSC, 1.15pm; Portrane v Dublin University, Donabate, 1.30pm; Rathgar v Clontarf, The High School, 12.30pm

Munster Senior Cup – 1st Round: Cork Harlequins v Ashton, Farmers’ Cross, 2.30pm; UCC v Catholic Institute, Mardyke, 2pm; Waterford v Cork C of I, Newtown, 2.30pm

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