Big guns expected to advance in Irish Senior Cup
Holders UCD at home to Ards while runners-up Cork Harlequins host Ballymoney
The bulk of the Irish women’s squad will be in action in the cup this weekend before they depart for Spain. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
The bulk of the squad selected for Ireland’s trip to Spain next week will first be on Irish Senior Cup duty for their clubs on Saturday before departing for sunnier climes.
The competition is now in to the second round, apart from the refixed first round tie between Belfast Harlequins and Queens which was abandoned after 20 minutes on Wednesday night due to torrential rain.
Pembroke Wanderers had been scheduled to play the winners of that game on Saturday, but can now put their feet up while the Ulster pair battle it out at Queens.
There are just two ties pairing sides from the Hockey League, cup holders UCD at home to Ards, with Loreto hosting Monkstown who they beat 4-0 when they met last month.
Elsewhere, Leinster first division sides Muckross and Genesis take on Hockey League opposition. Muckross, so far unbeaten in Leinster, are at home to Railway Union while Genesis face the unenviable task of meeting Pegasus in Belfast.
Cork Harlequins, last season’s beaten finalists, have the rare enough treat of playing at home this weekend having been on the road for seven of their eight Hockey League and cup games so far.
They’ll be firm favourites to advance but their visitors Ballymoney won’t be short of confidence having won all six of their Ulster League games to date. The round’s only all-Ulster affair is between Elks, the 2015 and 2016 cup winners, and Lurgan.
Irish Senior Cup – Saturday – First round: Queens v Belfast Harlequins, Queens, 1.0. Second round: Muckross v Railway Union, Muckross Park, 12.0; Loreto v Monkstown, Beaufort, 1.0; Ulster Elks v Lurgan, UUJ, 1.0; Cork Harlequins v Ballymoney, Harlequins Park, 1.05; UCD v Ards, Belfield, 2.50; Pegasus v Genesis, Queens, 4.0.