Corinthian on the victory march as plenty of EYHL relegation permutations remain

Such is the leeway on goal difference, it would be truly remarkable is Corinthian’s tie with Dublin University is not a procession to the Leinster Division One crown.

A win or draw seals it; lose and it requires a 15-goal swing to go against the reds to offer UCD a chance of the steal of the century.

It comes off the back of seven wins in a row in Leinster and no losses since UCD in early December, ensuring at the very least they will be in EYHL2 next season. UCD, for their part of the bargain, are down in Kilkenny.

Railway Union will be interested in that result with a loss for the students opening up the chance of moving into second spot, ensuring them the backstop of EYHL2 next term.

Portrane need a result to avoid bottom spot; Dublin North can potentially overtake them with a win over Rathgar who have lost eight in succession.

How meaningful 10th place is likely to be rubber-stamped in the summer but no obvious candidate for promotion is currently in place. Clontarf play Avoca in pretty much a dead rubber.

In the national division, Pembroke re-energised their hopes of an EY Champions Trophy spot last week with their big 5-2 win over Banbridge. If they can repeat the trick, it would give them a fighting chance on the closing day of the season.

For Bann, a win would secure their place at the playoffs on home turf.

Three Rock Rovers host Cookstown who are back in a spot of bother following Cork C of I’s recent run of two wins from their last three games.

Rovers won a week ago 3-0 in Steelweld Park to keep alive an outside chance of winning the title and a win here would have them within a point of Lisnagarvey, albeit with a game extra played.

Looking on with interest with be Cork C of I, hoping for Rovers to win on a big scoreline to give them a chance of moving above the Tyrone side on goal difference.

With C of I playing Three Rock on the final day of the season, the Cork club’s coach Denis Pritchard reflected on the situation: “It will probably boil down to who does best against Three Rock and that is the interesting prospect.

“We put ourselves in a position where we have a chance. We are relying on other teams but we do have a chance.

“We’ve are probably in a position we shouldn’t really be in. The squad was always light in terms of numbers and we had injuries early on and we didn’t really calculate the impact of those for later on in the season. We dropped points in three home games which should have yielded nine points.”

They have had some important figures return of late which has aided their cause.

“Simon Wolfe had a freak accident, standing on a hedge trimmer and cut part of his Achilles tendon last August.

“He didn’t come back until February and has made an impact. Philip Smith is back after a long-time and is exceptionally fit for a man of his age. He has played his part in organisation and leadership and pure doggedness.”

In the other national finals, holders Ballynahinch take on Limerick in the Irish Hockey Challenge on Saturday while Three Rock Rovers II face Instonians II in Sunday’s Irish Junior Cup at Grange Road.

Men’s weekend fixtures:
EY Hockey League: Banbridge v Pembroke Wanderers, Havelock Park, 2.45pm; Three Rock Rovers v Cookstown, Grange Road, 3.30pm

Irish Hockey Challenge Final: Ballynahinch v Limerick, Serpentine Avenue, 2.45pm

Leinster Division 1: Clontarf v Avoca, Mount Temple, 2pm; Dublin North v Rathgar, ALSAA, 2pm; Dublin University v Corinthian, Santry Avenue, 2pm; Kilkenny v UCD, Kilkenny College, 2pm; Portrane v Railway Union, Donabate LC, 2pm

Munster Division 1: Catholic Institute v UCC, Rosbrien, 2pm

Sunday 14th April 2019
Irish Junior Cup Final: Three Rock Rovers II v Instonians II, Grange Road, 4pm
Irish Hockey Trophy Final: NICS v Waterford, 3pm, Grange Road, 3pm

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