Harlequins of Cork and Belfast brace for busy weekend
Sides meet in quarter-finals of the Irish Senior Cup after League action on Saturday
Pegasus will play the winners of the battle of the Harlequins in the semi-final of the Irish Senior Cup. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
It’s a busy weekend for the Harlequins of Cork and Belfast, both clubs in Hockey League action on Saturday before meeting in the quarter-finals of the Irish Senior Cup on Sunday. Cork have home advantage in both fixtures, Pembroke Wanderers their League visitors, with Belfast on the road for the weekend, Trinity their first port of call before they head south.
UCD, Loreto and Pegasus are already through to the ISC semi-finals with Pegasus awaiting the winners of the battle of the Harlequins. But their focus for now is on the Hockey League where defeats in their last two games have turned a potential title challenge into a scramble to ensure a top-three finish.
Three wins in a row have seen Railway Union draw level on points with Pegasus, although they’ve played an extra game, but they’re up against it on Saturday, playing leaders UCD who are seeking their 10th win in a row.
Railway beat the students for the second year running in the Jacqui Potter Cup final on St Patrick’s Day, but their task will be a tougher one this time around with both sides likely to be at “fuller” strength for the Hockey League.
Having lost at home to Cork Harlequins and UCD in their last two games Pegasus will expect to return to winning ways when they host bottom club Monkstown who are five points adrift of Trinity, making them favourites for automatic relegation.
The tighter battle is between Trinity and Pembroke to avoid finishing ninth and going into a promotion/relegation play-off with the runners-up in the IHL. Pembroke are a point ahead of Trinity but with that game away to Cork they look to have the tougher fixture this weekend.
Loreto and Ards, who meet at Beaufort, are fifth and sixth in the table, respectively, some distance off the qualifying slots for the Champions Trophy.