Monkstown and Lisnagarvey face off for the second time in a month in a men’s EY Hockey League battle that could determine whether we have a title chase to savour or not depending on the outcome at the ALD Merrion Fleet Arena.
Garvey won the first showdown 2-1 and a repeat performance would see them eight points clear with a game in hand – against Annadale – with seven games to play. Jonny Bell missed the first meeting due to a calf injury but should be back in the fold.
Town produced some lovely flowing hockey last week against Corinthian a week ago with Davy Carson and Ross Quirke’s line-up in the front line full of style. Find some more of that form and they can do some damage and reignite their pursuit of the Ulster side.
It is similarly make or break at the bottom of the table. Annadale’s young charges are seven points off ninth placed Pembroke who they play on Saturday and a repeat of their 6-2 loss from earlier this month would see the Ulster side slip ever closer to the drop.
Pembroke will be without Kirk Shimmins who is serving the second game of his two-game suspension for an accumulation of yellow cards.
YMCA lost 8-0 to Saturday’s opponents Banbridge at home just a few weeks ago but bounced back in impressive style, pushing Garvey all the way before beating UCD 4-0 with an array of beautiful goals.
As such, it gives a good barometer of their improvement and whether their counter-attack trap can yield more dividends for the likes of Ross Henderson and Grant Glutz.
Bann’s approach could be key to the tie. Against Rovers last week, a timid first half was replaced by a gung-ho attacking game. There was suggestions from some of the Bann players that they need more of a “f**k it attitude” but Eugene Magee reckons it is about finding the happy medium. Drew Carlisle could return after a skiing holiday.
Corinthian and Three Rock shared an eight-goal draw with Peter Caruth deployed in a roving role across the back and down the left to good effect. Rovers are in healthy form, undefeated in the league since November with 14 points out of their last 18 and a win would keep Corinthian at arm’s length in the top four chase.
Since UCD beat Glenanne 2-1, they have lost their last three league games while the Glens ended their four-month wait for an EYHL win when they got the better of Pembroke a week ago.
In Leinster Division One, Clontarf bring their winning streak a short way up the M1 to face Portrane on the Donabate peninsula in the pick of the games, third hosting first.
The Fingal side added to their memorable season last weekend with three goals in the last 10 minutes earning them a 3-2 win at Raphoe.
Chasers Railway Union will fancy the points from their trip to Trinity’s Santry Avenue; Avoca, likewise, will hope perceived wisdom holds when they host Weston as will Rathgar against Bray.
Dublin North against Kilkenny is probably the best bet for fireworks with both sides showing a penchant for goal-fests with Adrian Sweeney netting 14 times while the sixth placed cats have scored 35 goals from 12 games.
Both Munster Senior Cup semi-finals were cancelled on Friday due to the orange weather warning.
Men’s Saturday fixtures
EYHL Division 1: Annadale v Pembroke, Strathearn, 4pm; Banbridge v YMCA, Havelock Park, 2.45pm; Corinthian v Three Rock Rovers, Whitechurch Park, 2pm; Monkstown v Lisnagarvey, Rathdown, 4.15pm; UCD v Glenanne, Belfield, 1pm
Leinster Division 1: Avoca v Weston, Newpark, 1pm; Dublin North v Kilkenny, NSC, 1.15pm; Dublin University v Railway Union, Santry Avenue, 11.30am; Portrane v Clontarf, Donabate LC, 2pm; Rathgar v Bray, The High School, 2.15pm
Munster Senior Cup, semi-finals
Postponed: UCC v Cork Harlequins, Bandon v Cork C of I