Cork C of I’s youth section will play a crucial role in keeping them competitive in the men’s EY Hockey League according to club legend John Jermyn.
Rising stars Andrew Salter, Tony Brophy and 15-year-old Kevin O’Dea all made an impact last weekend as the Garryduff side nabbed a 2-2 draw at table-topping Glenanne.
They have got their chance in the first team – perhaps earlier than expected – due to the high volume of departures from the club, many moving up to Dublin and beyond for work reasons.
And Rio Olympian Jermyn says they have made a slotted in well to the national league despite their tender years, hoping he can impart some of his knowledge to the next generation.
“They are vocal and its like they have been there for years, young talent coming on stream that I want to keep playing with for another couple of years! Kevin in there at centre mid is just 15 – I’m 20 years older than him.”
The Glenanne performance was one Jermyn said they can be more than content with. It puts them four points clear of the relegation playoff place and if they can grab a win on the road at Peter Caruth’s Annadale on Saturday.
The Glens outing was their first of 2018 as, more by accident than design, they got a seven-week break from action for the cold weather, something that many other clubs have called to be instituted into the calendar.
“The winter break actually did us a couple of favours and gave us a chance to regroup. We are down two more players now, down 12 in total now for this season from last. I don’t think there is any other team that has had that kind of loss [to cope with].”
As for the Glens, they will look to get back on the winning trail at Steelweld Park against Cookstown, a side they edged out 3-2 earlier in the campaign.
The Dublin team have been unbeaten in their matches this season, winning nine and drawing three to top the table and build up a seven-point gap with the chasing pack.
“We can take a lot from that performance down at St Andrews earlier in the season,” said Reds captain Jon Ames. “We ended the match better than they did, but we started very nervously and it was just too far to get back from 2-0 down.
“Numerous times this year Glenanne have scored goals right at the death to win or draw games, and you have got to say ‘well done’ when you see that fighting spirit.
“It is up to our guys to match or better that effort, and to show the killer instinct to execute our opportunities when they come about.”
Lisnagarvey’s pursuit of the Glens at the top continues with a big derby date against Banbridge. Both have had a stop start season with many games called off to catch up on.
Bann coach Mark Tumilty – who was honoured as the Sport NI Club Performance Coach of the Year this week – saw more training sessions cancelled this week because of the weather.
Frozen pitch again. Feels like a running club. Winter break a must for our game. Missing training session more frustrating than missing games. Proper indoor league structure would help develop players further. Only top nation in Europe not doing indoor…
— Mark Tumilty (@cm0411) February 13, 2018
He took to Twitter to call for change: “Feels like a running club. Winter break a must for our game. Missing training session more frustrating than missing games.
“Proper indoor league structure would help develop players further. Only top nation in Europe not doing indoor.”
For Garvey, James Lorimer is looking forward to the tie off the back of their thumping 5-1 win over Monkstown: “Banbridge will bring their direct attacking style and even with an inconsistent campaign, to date, we will give them the respect they’ve earned.
“The mood in the dressing room is good, buoyed by the flurry we had against Monkstown, it feels like we’re playing to our potential now. With Glenanne dropping points and games in hand, focus game by game is our aim now to contend for the title.”
Pembroke are playing their first EY Hockey League match since December 16 and will hope there is not too much ring-rust, something that was shown in their two Irish Senior Cup wins, scraping by South Antrim and Mossley.
Railway and Three Rock’s tie is postponed to March 1 due to Rovers involvement in European indoor action. They started their campaign with two wins on Friday, beating Armenia’s Hrazdan 3-2 with a Ben McCrea winner and a 10-0 success against Georgian hosts Club Tbilisi.
In Leinster Division One in midweek, Andy Malcolm’s double saw Rathgar beat Dublin North 2-0 while Avoca had the same margin in their favour against Clontarf on Thursday evening.
In the latter tie, there was an evenly contested first half of few clear-cut chances. Dave Lawless was forced to make one excellent diving save from a baseline run and 45-degree pass.
Avoca had a stroke correctly overturned from a corner drag that stuck a defender on the line but outside the post. Stefan Gallagher also pulled off a fine block to a Tarf one-on-one chance.
The second half opened up and Avoca took the lead with 10 minutes to go, catching Clontarf napping over a disputed free. A three-pass move saw Ruairi Nolan round Lawless and slap the ball home.
Three minutes later, a counter attack essentially finished off the game when Jonathan Elmes found himself free in the D to strike home with accuracy.
Avoca are back in action on Saturday against Rathgar while YMCA can move level with Corinthian if they get the best of a tester at Clontarf.
The rest of the schedule is reduced with Dublin North in the Irish Hockey Trophy against Portrane in a Fingal derby.
Men’s fixtures (Saturday unless stated)
EY Hockey League: Annadale v Cork C of I, 2,30pm, Strathearn; Cookstown v Glenanne, 2.30pm, Steelweld Park; Lisnagarvey v Banbridge, 3pm, Comber Road; Pembroke Wanderers v Monkstown, 4pm, Serpentine Avenue.
Irish Hockey Trophy, quarter-finals: Bandon v NICS, 2.30pm, Bandon GS; Bangor v UCC, 3pm, Bangor Aurora; Newry v Raphoe, 2.30pm, Newry HC; Portrane v Dublin North, 2pm, Donabate.
Leinster Division 1
Tuesday: Rathgar 2 (A Malcolm 2) Dublin North 0
Thursday: Avoca 2 (R Nolan, J Elmes) Clontarf 0
Saturday: Avoca v Rathgar, 12.30pm, Newpark; Clontarf v YMCA, 12pm, Mount Temple; UCD v Kilkenny, 2.50pm, Belfield
Munster Division 1: Cork C of I B v Cork Harlequins, 3pm, Garryduff.