EY Hockey League Preview: Ireland internationals have choice to return to club action

Form book says table should finish weekend as is with top half sides playing bottom ones

The Irish squad members whoh recently secured World Cup qualification can choose whether to rest or line out for their clubs this weekend. Photograph: Giuseppe Fama/Inpho

The Irish squad members whoh recently secured World Cup qualification can choose whether to rest or line out for their clubs this weekend. Photograph: Giuseppe Fama/Inpho

 

With World Cup qualification secured after the Irish team’s sterling efforts in Pisa last weekend, the focus back home returns to the EY Hockey League. Members of the national squad are available to their clubs for round six of the competition, although free to rest their weary bones, if they so choose.

If the form book is unruffled then come Saturday afternoon the table should look much as it does now, with the top five sides meeting clubs in the bottom half.

The closest of the contests might well be the meeting of Catholic Institute and Loreto at Rosbrien, the teams level on points and goal difference with Loreto just holding the advantage on goals scored.

Loreto had a ropey enough start to their campaign, taking just a point from their opening two games, against Pembroke Wanderers and Railway Union, but since then they’ve put four past both Old Alexandra and Belfast Harlequins in comfortable wins, with a scoreless draw against reigning champions Pegasus in between.

Institute suffered their first defeat of the campaign in their last outing, having drawn two and won two of their opening four games, Pegasus beating them by the narrowest of margins in Belfast. This game, then, will be an interesting test of both sides’ credentials a third of the way through the season.

With second-from-bottom Muckross their visitors at Queens on Saturday, Pegasus will expect to hold on to top spot in the table, while UCD, Pembroke and Alexandra will be hopeful of remaining just a point behind, Railway, Belfast Harlequins and Cork Harlequins, all in the bottom four, their opponents, respectively.

Hockey League - Division One - Saturday: UCD v Railway Union, Belfield, 1.0pm; Catholic Institute v Loreto, Rosbrien, 1.0pm; Old Alexandra v Cork Harlequins, Alexandra College, 1.30pm; Belfast Harlequins v Pembroke Wanderers, Deramore Park, 2.30pm; Pegasus v Muckross, Queens University, 2.30pm.

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