Battle for fourth faces two vital twists

The intriguing battle for the fourth automatic IHL place continues apace in midweek as Monkstown have their chance this evening to break into the top four for the first time in a couple of months.

They face a Railway Union side with plenty to play for, hoping to avoid any potential relegation play-off that comes with ninth place in the rankings.

Town matches are always good to watch, witness their 5-3 win over Railway earlier this term, but their inability to do anything the easy way makes tonight’s battle of more than passing interest. Andy Ewington’s (picturedm tackling) flicks and Gareth Watkins’ threat have been added to by the emergence of Frank Ryan as a livewire forward to supply options up front.

For Railway, the tie comes on the eve of the Leinster Schoolboy’s Senior Cup final, making for a hectic schedule for flick expert Peter English but Paul O’Brien’s return from injury was a welcome one last weekend.

On Thursday evening, Three Rock aim to bounce back from their Lisnagarvey horror show but could have a big boost with the potential return of Peter Blakeney to the fray after a short-lived venture in Italy.

They face Glenanne in Tallaght, needing to cause somewhat of an upset to keep their hopes of a top four place on track.

That school’s final takes centre stage on Wednesday afternoon when the two modern behemoths of the game – Wesley and St Andrew’s – face off.

Wes will be without captain and long-term injury victim and co-captain Kyle Good but have a range of options with first team experience.The afore-mentioned English is joined in the side by midfield schemer Luke Chadwick, powerhouse Conor Motyer, Rovers’ flyer Tom Samuel along with seven others from the Leinster U-18 panel.

Andrew’s have less in the way of representative honours, four current Leinster U-18s, but Richard Sykes provides a powerful corner option, Stephen West a high quality net-minder with David Watkins and David Cole dangerous presences.

Wesley are hoping to complete the third leg of a potential quadruple but Andrew’s pushed the Ballinteer students all the way in the league before Christmas to show this tie is far from a foregone conclusion.

The girl’s Premier League final takes centre stage on Thursday afternoon at Grange Road with St Andrew’s facing Mount Anville in the decider. St Andrew’s got the better of Alexandra College for the second time in a week on Monday afternoon, winning out 4-2 in their semi-final.

Mount Anville, meanwhile, beat Wesley 2-1 on Saturday with Ciara Noble converting a short corner and Aisling Naughton finishing off a one-on-one.

Men’s Division One:
Tuesday: Monkstown vs Railway Union, 8pm, Rathdown
Thursday: Glenanne vs TRR, 8.15pm, Glenanne Park

Men’s Division Two:
Tuesday: Dublin University vs Navan, TBC

School’s schedule (Grange Road):
Wednesday: Boy’s Senior Cup final – Wesley vs St Andrew’s 3.30pm; Minor Boy’s Cup final – Newpark vs Wesley, 1.45pm
Thursday: Senior Girl’s Premier League final – Mount Anville vs St Andrew’s, 2pm

Men's Leinster Senior Div 1