For a second weekend running, there is plenty of scope for a shake-up at the top of the men’s and women’s EYHL with encounters between sides in the top three of both competitions.
On the women’s side, there has been something of a changing of the guard with three sides in the top four having never previously reached the EYHL playoffs.
Two of them meet at Serpentine Avenue with Pembroke – fresh from their 2-1 win over Pegasus – face Catholic Institute after their stunning 3-2 success against UCD.
Playing back-to-back games on water-based could work well for the Limerick side who have won four of their last five outings, three games of which were on the road.
Leah McGuire was a real beating heart in the Pembroke side a week ago while Isy Delamer was similarly composed at the back in their super performance that has them at the top alongside Old Alex.
Alex, themselves, have a tester against UCD but are in red-hot form, winning four in a row and scoring goals for fun – 10 in their last two outings with Nikki Evans grabbing four of them.
UCD are the EYHL’s top scorers thus far with Hannah McLoughlin leading the individual charts but she has been missed in the last two weeks following an injury sustained on international duty.
With many of their panel in the Irish Under-21 squad, it has made for a slightly disjointed spell and back-to-back defeats has them in sixth place.
Pegasus will hope to get back on the winning trail when they make the long trip to bottom side Cork Harlequins. The Ulster side missed the services of Shirley McCay, Leah Paul and Kate Gourley a week ago which left them tight for options.
Quins draw heavily on Munster Under-20 and 18 rising stars like Lauren Cripps, Amy O’Shea, Ruby Walsh and Isobel Kingston as they look to adapt to life in the top league with a very young squad.
Loreto will be looking to find a bit of form when they host Muckross at Beaufort; the hosts are in an unaccustomed lower mid-table position but the nature of the league means a good win here could see them right back among the chasers.
Railway Union have played out some intense battles this season with only their 6-0 success against Cork Harlequins being settled by more than a single goal. This weekend, they host the Belfast variety of Harlequin who sit on three points after seven rounds, putting them precariously above the bottom two.
Despite both sitting near the top of the men’s table, both joint-top Glenanne and Three Rock Rovers come into round seven off the back of their first losses of the season in recent weeks.
Rovers are the top scorers in the division to date with 22 from their six games but Glenanne have the most lethal individual shooting threat with Shane O’Donoghue on nine goals.
They are a tight-knit panel, working with one of the smaller squads this season with experienced heads like Brad Venter, Sam O’Connor, Gary and Richie Shaw bringing a wealth of know-how. David Lawless has impressed between the posts since arriving from Clontarf.
For Rovers, Ali Haughton could come back into the fold having missed over a month with a hamstring issue but Harry MacMahon missed last week’s tie at Lisnagarvey.
It is one of four derbies on the agenda. The Ulster match-up between Annadale and Banbridge sees just one point separate the sides with a potential cracker on the cards.
Dale’s first win of the campaign was emphatic a fortnight ago and in a realistic position to challenge Bann for the first time in a number of years.
While a lot has been made of their international trio, Adam McAllister has been a vital cog while up and coming stars like Kent Irwin and Paddy Rose along with Ulster Under-21 panelists Allen Lyons and James Clark mean they have a wider depth of talent.
Bann were almost stunned by Corinthian last time around after a breathtaking first half in Dublin. More of that and less of the second period and they will be in good shape.
Pembroke were heavily under-staffed for their last visit to Dublin 16 a fortnight ago and they will hope to have some of Harry Spain, Rob McCollum, Alex Burns and Andrew Colton back in the line-up against Corinthian.
Julian Dale has been inspirational this term despite their tough run and he will be key if they can land a first win of the league season.
For the reds, they know a third win of the campaign would put significant distance between themselves and Pembroke and allow them to continue looking upwards in the table.
Monkstown take their slightly erratic form to YMCA, beating Glenanne after missing out against Annadale and Corinthian. Guy Sarratt showed once again he is a top gun in this league from corners and will put Jakim Bernsden to the test.
YM have not won since the opening day of the season; their ability to stretch the game at pace has made for plenty of attacking openings but has the downside of seeing them concede at least twice in each game this term, something they will aim to address.
Top faces bottom as Lisnagarvey, fresh from joining the Glens at the top, meet UCD at Comber Road with the students outsiders to land their first win of the campaign.
Round two of the men’s and women’s Irish Junior Cups also takes place with 16 teams remaining in each competition on Saturday.
Sunday sees the latest rounds of girls interprovincial fixtures with the Under-21, 18 and 16 sides from Munster and Leinster facing off at Newtown in Waterford while Ulster and Connacht’s Under-18 and 16 teams play each other at Grange Road.
Saturday 13th November 2021
EYHL Division 1: Annadale v Banbridge, Lagan College, 2.30pm; Corinthian v Pembroke Wanderers, Whitechurch Park, 3.15pm; Glenanne v Three Rock Rovers, St. Andrews College, 2.30pm; Lisnagarvey v UCD, Comber Road, 2.30pm; YMCA v Monkstown, Wesley College, 3.50pm
Men – Irish Junior Cup – Round 2: Banbridge v Instonians, Havelock Park, 1pm; Clontarf v Pembroke, Mount Temple, 3pm; Corinthian v YMCA, St Columba’s, 4.45pm; Glenanne v Cookstown, St Andrews, 4pm; Kilkeel v Bangor, Kilkeel HS, 2.30pm; Monkstown v Annadale, Rathdown, 2pm; North Down v Lisnagarvey, Comber LC, 4pm; Railway Union v Mossley, Park Avenue, 3.40pm
EYHL Division 1: Cork Harlequins v Pegasus, Farmers’ Cross, 12.45pm; Loreto v Muckross, Beaufort, 1.15pm; Old Alexandra v UCD, Alexandra College, 1.30pm; Pembroke Wanderers v Catholic Institute, Serpentine Avenue, 2.30pm; Railway Union v Belfast Harlequins, Park Avenue, 1.45pm
Irish Junior Cup – Round 2: Cork Harlequins v Avoca, Farmers Cross; Trinity v Corinthian, Santry, 2pm; Loreto v Belfast Harlequins, Beaufort, 2.45pm; Muckross v Monkstown, Muckross Park, 3.30pm; Old Alex v Ashton, Milltown, 3pm; Pembroke Wanderers v Pegasus, Serpentine Avenue, 12.30pm; Ulster Elks v Railway Union, Jordanstown, 2.40pm
Sunday 14th November 2021
Under-21: Munster v Leinster, Newtown, 2pm
Under-18: Ulster v Connacht, Grange Road, 2pm; Munster v Leinster, Newtown, 2pm
Under-16: Ulster v Connacht, Grange Road, 5pm; Munster v Leinster, Newtown, 12pm