The men’s EY Hockey League is scheduled to return for a helter-skelter second half of the campaign following a staccato pre-Christmas schedule, barring frost issues taking hold.
The World Cup played a big part, leaving several refixtures on the cards with the possibility of a few more should the predicted frost affect this weekend’s matches.
It is something Hockey Ireland performance director Adam Grainger is acutely aware of as the national body looks to marry international commitments with the club calendar.
“Hopefully the weather gods are kind too for the second half of the season and our players and competitions don’t suffer interruptions and we all get to enjoy a feast of continuous and competitive hockey,” he said ahead of the league’s return for 2019.
Three Rock Rovers, for example, already have two matches to catch up on in the league while Tuesday's frozen out tie against Pembroke in the Mills Cup was particularly unwelcome.
Starting with Saturday’s tie against Cookstown in Co Tyrone, they have 13 outdoor league games to play – and a European indoor trip to Oslo next week.
Monkstown and Cork C of I are another pair with 13 and 12 league games still to play, respectively. Their meeting is an important one with C of I going winless throughout 2018, running up 10 draws in the calendar year.
As Munster’s sole representative in the league, it is important not just for the club but the province that they start pulling away from the relegation places sooner rather than later.