Telling weekend in hockey’s IHL
Double-header of matches will indicate which clubs are peaking at the right time
Andy Ewington (left) celebrates another goal for in-form Monkstown, against Pembroke Wanderers. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
With 12 matches scheduled over a busy double weekend the complexion of the Irish Hockey League will become significantly more clear by Monday. With Banbridge, YMCA, Lisnagarvey and Monkstown listed as the the four venues for the teams in Pools A and B, there are a couple of clubs already facing into in a win or bust situation.
In Pool A, Instonians meet in-form Monkstown, who surprised many, except perhaps themselves, with a 6-1 win over Pembroke last week. But the Ulster side are looking for two wins from two as well after their opening victory over Annadale. Pembroke must win against Cork Harlequins to get their championship moving forward.
Monkstown move on to Sunday, to play Cork Harlequins, vulnerable after last week’a heavy defeat to Cookstown. They are also carrying a couple of injuries so will have their work cut out against the Irish Senior Cup champions as well as Pembroke the previous day.
In Pool A, Monkstown, Cookstown and Instonians each have four points and in Pool B, Church of Ireland, Banbridge and YMCA all won their first games. However, if a team emerges from the weekend with no wins from three games they would appear to be out of the running.
A strong showing, however, could leave top clubs such as Monkstown, Cookstown, C of I or Banbridg in a strong position.
SATURDAY: Irish Hockey League : Pool A – Cookstown v Annadale, Banbridge, 1.30; Instonians v Monkstown, Banbridge, 3.30; Pembroke v Cork Harlequins, YMCA, 5.30. Pool B – Banbridge v Cork C of I, Banbridge, 5.30; Glenanne v YMCA, YMCA, 1.30.
SUNDAY: Irish Hockey League: Pool A – Monkstown v Cork Harlequins, 1.30 Rathdown; Annadale v Pembroke, 3.30 Hillsborough; Cookstown v Instonians, 5.30 Hillsborough. Pool B - Lisnagarvey v Cork C of I, 1.30 Hillsborough; YMCA v Banbridge, 3.30 Rathdown; Glenanne v Railway Union, 5.30 Rathdown.