Pembroke and Glenanne embrace Friday night action

Novel clash set for Serpentine Avenue tonight (8.pm)

Leinster hockey is embracing Friday night lights for the first time this evening as Pembroke host Glenanne at Serpentine Avenue in Ballsbridge in a bid to ramp up its accessibility to supporters.

In the past month, the sport has agreed plans to introduce a fully-fledged Irish Hockey League starting in September 2015.

Friday Division One hockey has been bandied about as a notion at numerous AGMs in recent years but this is the first such tie. It comes more by accident than design as both clubs were potentially without top players due to the upcoming intervarsities tournament taking place in Belfast.

However, the Friday night fixture will give many more club members the chance to see their top team in the club in action. Most Saturdays, junior club games often clash directly with first division games, leading to low attendances.

Pembroke player-coach Paddy Conlon is hopeful it will be a success, saying: "Hockey is in an exciting period in the lead up to the new IHL format.

“This opportunity presented itself and it immediately appealed as something that will allow players who are normally tied up with games on a Saturday a chance to watch a top Leinster league game.”

His side go into the tie as firm favourites but Glenanne have already taken points off national champions Monkstown this season.

Gary Shaw, though, is a big miss for the Glens due to a broken leg sustained against Railway Union a few weeks ago.

Tomorrow, Three Rock Rovers face Monkstown in a battle between two sides sharing top spot with Pembroke, all on 13 points after five games.

Rovers will need to limit Town’s corner options after Richard Sykes’ quadruple last weekend in what promises to be another high-scoring game.

The rest of the action is at the far end of the league with YMCA playing Corinthian and winless Rathgar facing Avoca.

Weekend Fixtures: Tonight: Pembroke v Glenanne, 8pm, Serpentine Avenue. Saturday: Three Rock Rovers v Monkstown, 3pm, Grange Road; YMCA v Corinthian, 1.30pm, Millltown; Rathgar v Avoca, 12.30pm, High School

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