St Patrick’s Day once again means a feast of hockey at Grange Road with the day now playing host to five finals with three U-16 deciders joining the men’s and women’s Leinster senior double-header.
The men’s Mills Cup fixture has added poignancy for Glenanne following the passing of Roly O’Donoghue earlier this week, their captain when the club won their first Mills Cup on St Patrick’s Day in 1996 with victory over YMCA.
It was the first major trophy the club had won en route to becoming one of the outstanding sides in the country – a place at the top table which they have yet to vacate.
And they are coming into form at the right time – Stephen Brownlow and Eddie O’Malley vying for the role of chief-goalscorer – with Leinster league glory and IHL progression in their own hands.
Strangely, it is the first piece of silverware on offer this term and is one that the Glens have an uncanny knack of winning.
In Monkstown, they face a side against whom ties invariably produce goals galore especially with a new found fondness for the overhead.
Richard Sykes and David Cole’s introduction to the first team has offered a new option to go long – particularly evident in recent matches against Pembroke – to utilise the pace of Gareth Watkins and Kyle Good.
The Town are hoping this is the day they can breakthrough after a number of final appearances for this incarnation of the team.
Andrew Ward comes back into the panel to play up front, making the trip home from Germany where he is currently on Erasmus.
On the women’s side, Railway Union will aim to complete their set of major titles, the Jacqui Potter eluding them most recently in 2009 when Hermes had their number after normal time ended scoreless.
Opponents UCD have won the title more recently – indeed Railway were the victims of a 2-1 defeat in the 2006 decider.
Included in their number that day is current Railway defender Holly Jenkinson but Johnny Harte’s selection in 2011 is very much about their freshmen with three Irish training panelists in the midst.
Chloe Watkins brings a dimension of guile, Brenda Flannery can be utilised in midfield and defence while Niamh Atcheler has been used to good effect as an over-lapping wing-back or as the sweeping rock.
It comes just a day after the Leinster schoolboy’s Senior Cup in which both clubs had representatives on Wesley’s winning side with vital stroke-taker Kirk Shimmins in purple.
Jonathan Roberts and Luke Madeley don Rovers’ jersies but they will miss Leinster U-16 Dylan Shirley who suffered a broken collar bone playing for the club’s first team against Glenanne.
On the girl’s side, Muckross face Old Alex in the Jacqui Potter juvenile final while TRL play Hermes in the first Plate final of the same competition.
** Tickets will be on sale for The Hook Awards/End of Season Party, to be held on April 2 in Kobra on Leeson Street, at the ground throughout the Mills and Jacqui Potter Cup finals. Nominees for the Hook’s Contributor of the Year will be available to vote for on Friday with further votes to follow in due course. Keep an eye on the site for more information.
St Patrick’s Day schedule (all at Grange Road)
Jacqui Potter Cup final: Railway Union vs UCD, 2pm
Mills Cup final: Glenanne vs Monkstown, 4pm
Benny Atkinson Cup final: Three Rock Rovers vs Pembroke, 12pm
Jacqui Potter U-16 Juvenile Cup final: Muckross vs Old Alex, 10am
Jacqui Potter U-16 Juvenile Plate final: TRL vs Hermes, 10.30am, back pitch