Pembroke poised to test Lisnagarvey’s mettle

Serpentine Avenue hosts top game of weekend in the Irish Senior Cup

The Irish Senior Cup begins across the provinces with Pembroke Wanderers involved in the weekend's biggest match at Serpentine Avenue.

It is up to the Dublin club to see if the small fractures that appeared in Lisnagarvey after a wonderful winning streak are still there or if the Hillsborough side have straightened themselves for the 2.30 meeting.

Lisnagarvey's 19-game winning run in the Irish Hockey League (IHL) came to an end last week with Sean Murray's late goal securing a 1-1 draw with Three Rock Rovers.

Last year's men's Irish Senior Cup winners Monkstown have received a bye into the second round. But Lisnagarvey, who Monkstown defeated for the trophy last season, are involved in the only clash of IHL teams in the draw.

There will also be a number of Rio Olympians involved in the Dublin 4 showdown as well as a plethora of international players with 'Garvey's Jonny Bell, Paul Gleghorne, Michael Watt and Pembroke's Alan Sothern and Kirk Shimmins welcoming the challenge.

Pembroke have not won the trophy since 2009, when they lifted it for the second time in two years, while ’Garvey despite their recent success, need to go back to 2005 to when they last won the cup.

It is a competition Dublin clubs have dominated in the last 10 years with Monkstown, Glenanne, Pembroke and Three Rock Rovers combining for six wins since 2007.

UCD, who recently got a useful transfer from Monkstown in Ziggy Agnew, make the short trip to Rathgar. Cork Harlequins make the long trip to Deramore, where they face Belfast Harlequins. Three Rock Rovers should have enough class to see off Northern Ireland Civil Service at Stormont.

FIXTURES Irish Senior Cup – Rathgar v UCD, Rathgar 3.00; Belfast Harlequins v Cork C of I, Deramore 2.30; Kilkeel v Cookstown, Kilkeel High School 2.30; Mossely v Avoca, The Glade 2.30; NICS v Three Rock Rovers, Stormont 2.30; Pembroke v Lisnagarvey, Serpentine Avenue 2.30; Portadown v Instonians, Portadown 2.30; Clontarf v YMCA, Mt Temple 12.30; Corinthians v Raphoe, St Columbas TBA.

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson is a sports writer with The Irish Times