Glenanne face another tester after spectacular start to men’s EYHL

Following their spectacular start to the season, Glenanne have another big test as they are playing their third away tie our of four, bringing their perfect record to Serpentine Avenue and the challenge of Pembroke.

It is one of five well-matched EY Hockey League games, which could give a much better grounding on how all 10 teams will fare this season.

Railway Union’s Fergal Keaveney gets away from Clontarf’s Cain Cooney in the Irish Senior Cup last Sunday. Pic: Deryck Vincent

South African international Shannon Boucher missed their Rovers’ tie last weekend but could be named in the panel. For Pembroke, Wesley Bronwnlow is back in contention for a side who have had a mixed bag to date with the need to tighten up a defence that has been the second most porous in the first three weeks.

Alan Sothern’s six goals – two in each game – has kept them in contention in each game so far, earning a win, a draw and a loss. Pembroke did the double over the Glens last season and so this tie could give an indication of how fortunes have developed for the greens or if the Dublin 4 side are in a position to challenge for a top four spot.

Three Rock host Lisnagarvey in a repeat of last season’s EY Champions Trophy semi-final. Last season’s win for Rovers against Garvey in the corresponding league fixture was a breakthrough moment for the Grange Road side, marking for many the first time they had beaten the Hillsborough side.

This time around, they will continue to be without Luke Madeley, Ravin Nair and Jamie Carr and so will hope their adjusted defensive line-up can gel.

Since their last meeting, Garvey have also undergone changes with Paul Gleghorne, Steven Arbuthnot and Timmy Cockram not around for their recent ties while Michael Robson moved to Crefelder HC.

As such, there are plenty of changes for two sides sitting on six points, Garvey with impressive, high-scoring wins over Pembroke and Monkstown on their record with Sean Murray and Matthew Nelson scoring some spectacular goals.

Banbridge will look to bounce back after their Irish Senior Cup exit at the hands of Lisnagarvey. On the plus side, they have Eugene Magee back in their line-up for their trip to Dublin to take on Monkstown.

Town have a slightly remodeled defence this season with Matteo Romoli and Keith Kenning linking up with Gavin Groves while Cian Speers has made a comeback this term into the first team after a while away with Trinity and then playing more socially down the divisions.

Cork C of I will hope that Storm Brian does not strike too hard as they welcome Railway Union for their fourth successive home game of the campaign.

Railway travel with no goals and no points on their card for the campaign to date but they have found Garryduff a happy hunting ground in recent seasons, the Sandymount side winning on their last two visits, including a 4-1 win in February.

The two promoted sides – Cookstown and Annadale – have plenty of recent history with the Co Tyrone side winning the Ulster Premier league last season but lost the EYHL promotion playoff tie, sending them into the wildcard match with UCD.

Since promotion, both are waiting for their first victory with Dale on one point and Cookstown seeking their first.

“The match against Dale is huge – both sides will know that,” said Cookstown captain, Jon Ames. “A win will propel the victor up to mid-table and will give them the bragging rights and a good bit of confidence going forward.

“Much like last season in the Ulster Premier, it has the makings of a very tight and edgy affair. The margins between us have always been pretty fine and that means the pressure will be on.”

One game is on the card in Leinster Division One with Clontarf facing Avoca at Mount Temple while there is a quartet of Neville Cup ties on the agenda.

In Munster, the big game of the weekend has already been called off with The Mardyke closed as a result of Storm Brian meaning UCC and Bandon’s game will not go ahead.

Men’s fixtures (all Saturday)

EY Hockey League: Cookstown v Annadale, 2.30pm, Steelweld Park; Cork C of I v Railway Union, 2.30pm, Garryduff; Monkstown v Banbridge, 2.30pm, Merrion Fleet Arena; Pembroke v Glenanne, 2.30pm, Serpentine Avenue; Three Rock Rovers v Lisnagarvey, 3.30pm, Grange Road
Leinster Division 1: Clontarf v Avoca, 12.30pm, Mount Temple
Munster Division 1: UCC v Bandon – postponed; Ashton v Harlequins, 12.15pm, Ashton School

Neville Cup, second round
Saturday: Dublin University v Rathgar, 1pm, Santry Avenue; YMCA v Corinthian, 1.45pm, Wesley College; Dublin North v Kilkenny, 2pm, NSC; UCD v Weston, 1pm, Belfield
Sunday: Portrane v Glenanne, 2pm, Donabate
Tuesday: Pembroke v Monkstown, 8pm, Serpentine Avenue
Thursday: Three Rock Rovers v Avoca, 8pm, Grange Road

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