Curtain Raiser for Weekend
WOMEN’S CHAMPIONS TROPHY SEMI-FINALS
UCD V CATHOLIC INSTITUTE
And then there were four. The first semi-final pushes back at 10:30 Saturday morning and sees the EYHL Women’s Champions Trophy semi-finals the first of which involves UCD and Catholic Institute.
Recently crowned EYHL Champions for 2022/23 UCD take on a Catholic Institute side who finished in fourth place but are the holders of the Irish Senior Cup and will be back in the final next week attempting to defend their trophy.
If Catholic Institute win today and again in the final tomorrow, they could pull off an EHL qualification and Irish Senior Cup double by retaining their trophy next weekend into the bargain.
Catholic Institute defeated last year’s EY Champions Trophy winners, Pembroke Wanderers 1-0 in last weekend’s quarter-final to avenge that defeat somewhat.
For UCD who were in this exact same position five years ago having won the League, the lesson from history is that they need to be at their best to reach the final of this competition as they fell at the semi-final hurdle of the
EYHL Champions trophy back in 2018, on that occasion to Loreto.
LORETO V OLD ALEXANDRA
The second semi-final pushes back at 12:30.
Loreto, who beat UCD in the semi-final back in 2018, went on to win the trophy on that occasion and represent Ireland in the following year’s EHL.
A repeat of that achievement, is what they will be seeking on this occasion. Old Alexandra will have other ideas, no doubt.
This is a rivalry between two clubs that begins at school level. Loreto, based in Beaufort, regularly come up against Alexandra College in schools Cup competitions.
They have a rivalry at adult level where their school alumni come up against each other, at provincial and national level in League, Senior Cups and also in this competition.
Loreto, who were beaten to the title on the final day of the season, took some solace from having reached the semi-final by finishing second.
In order to derive that consolation though, Loreto need to win this tie and reach the final at the very least. Old Alexandra defeated Pegasus by 2-1 in their quarter-final last weekend having reached that stage finishing 3rd in the EYHL title race.
The fact that in this competition the League’s top four teams all made it through to the semi-finals adds further spice to the proceedings. The women’s final will be decided by the winners of the two semi-finals on Sunday afternoon.
MEN’S CHAMPIONS TROPHY SEMI-FINALS
BANBRIDGE V GLENANNE
The first semi-final in the Men’s Champions Trophy will push back at 3:00 Saturday afternoon . You could not ask for a better semi-final pairing than an Irish Senior Cup Final dress rehearsal .
This is what we have with the recently crowned EYHL Champions for 2022/23 Banbridge taking on 5th placed Glenanne. Glenanne who defeated fourth placed Three Rock Rovers in their quarter-final at Grange Road won 7-3
and have been scoring goals for fun.
Banbridge had the second tightest defence in the EYHL this past season and their victory in the title race , secured their spot in this semi-final which is the first of two Men’s Semi-finals matches to be played this afternoon.
Both Glenanne and Banbridge going into this game have the potential to win a Senior Cup and Champions Trophy double. There are two other teams in the second semi-final who will be seeking to prevent that outcome.
It should prove to be a thrilling closely fought encounter and should neither side be separated after the full four quarters, it will go to a shoot-out.
LISNAGARVEY V MONKSTOWN
There are two disappointed sides relatively speaking in this half of the semi-final draw. Lisnagarvey had led the EYHL Championship title race, alternatively with Banbridge for most of the 2022/23 season but stumbled about a month from the end of the League dropping 4 points out of a possible 6 in a double round of fixtures weekend in February that saw them draw with Instonians and lose a vital game to Banbridge.
Garvey, like Loreto in the women’s competition, at least qualified for the semi-final directly by finishing in second place. Lisnagarvey had been champions since 2019 and surrendered their trophy disappointingly this season. A victory in the Champions Trophy would secure a return to the EHL and ease the disappointment. Monkstown who had a relatively disappointing League campaign finishing sixth did capitalize on their quarter-final berth by winning in a shoot-out last week in their quarter final against YMCA after normal time ended in a 3-3 draw.
They have designs of the EHL spot of their own and will be a very difficult opponent for Lisnagarvey to overcome. Although Lisnagarvey finished 12 League points ahead of their rivals it will all come down to how both sides do on the day.
The Men’s final will be decided between the winners of the two semi-finals on Sunday afternoon .