Irish Senior Cup quarter-finals take centre-stage

Saturday brings the quarter-finals of the men’s and women’s Irish Senior Cup with a number of potential classics on the list while there are women’s EYHL Division 2 and Irish Hockey Trophy games.

In the men’s line-up, there is a potential classic as two of the competition’s most successful clubs meet at Grange Road with Three Rock Rovers hosting Lisnagarvey at 3pm, accounting for 36 of the titles since the trophy was introduced in 1893.

Garvey are the reigning champions with Rovers winning the two editions before that. The former won their most recent tie two weeks ago 3-2 but Rovers subsequently got the upper hand in the league with victories over Glenanne and YMCA.

A key factor could be the availability of Ross Canning who has been a key figure for Rovers thus far but he was rested for the second half of that win over YM with a hamstring strain.

Cookstown are one of two second tier sides looking to cause an upset against top division opposition in a repeat of the 2009 final. The unbeaten Ulster Premier side face an out of sorts Pembroke who have just two wins in national competitions this term in nine attempts and were without player-coach Alan Sothern last weekend.

Three Rock Rovers’ James Walker and YMCA’s Grant Glutz in action last week. Pic: Adrian Boehm

The Co Tyrone side are seeing plenty of young guns rising through the ranks with Mark Cuddy and Luke Haycock shining last week along with Max Anderson and the McCabes: Scott and Josh.

Cork C of I will get a big test of their credentials when they take on Glenanne in the quarter-finals of the men’s Irish Senior Cup on Saturday in Dublin.

The Garryduff side are unbeaten on all fronts this term, topping Munster Division One and starting their EYHL Division 2 campaign in rude health with a 5-0 win over Rathgar.

But the Glens will be a different level to anything they have faced this term with the Tallaght club sitting equal second in the top division.

It is the kind of challenge Jonny Bruton’s side have expressly stated they want to face more frequently, targeting a return to the top tier of the EYHL where they believe the likes of Rob Sweetnam, Mark Collins, Ian Balding and Rory Treacy will thrive.

The Glens were understrength last week with Shannon Boucher, Richie Shaw, Richard Couse and Rowland Rixon-Fuller all out but, in Shane O’Donoghue, they have the country’s outstanding goalscorer at the heart of things.

Monkstown meet YMCA who they drew with 1-1 recently in the league with Sam Hyland scoring a late penalty stroke. The Y have missed the fiery presence of Ross Henderson up front while Town’s form has been hit and miss, beating two of the top three in the league either side of that draw with YM who occupy eighth in the table.

In the women’s Irish Senior Cup, Banbridge and. Queen’s will aim to defy the odds against in-form and higher ranked opposition to reach the semi-finals.

Bann are at this stage for the second successive campaign but face a Catholic Institute side who have catapulted into the national shake-up in recent years with Olympians Naomi Carroll and Roisin Upton back in the fold.

The Co Down side will hope the likes of Katie McDonald and Lucy Mackey to fire as they have in the Ulster Premier, leading the scoring in the division.

NUIG and Queen’s both face another big tie this weekend. Picture: Billy Pollock

For Queen’s, they face another side shining in the EYHL, Pembroke, who have been the outstanding side thus far, building a healthy four-point lead.

Queen’s have had a middling Ulster Premier campaign, sitting in tenth place, but they have saved their best form for the big games this term and with internationals Jessica McMaster and Erin Getty in the mix and Alyssa Jebb firing up front, they can cause problems.

Pegasus go into their quarter-final with plenty of confidence against Muckross at Grange Road following a solid first half of the season which included a 3-1 success against their opponents.

UCD and Railway Union can provide some potential early fireworks at Belfield at 11.15am in a repeat of the 2013 final. The students have won three of the last four editions of the competition and, with the Junior World Cup postponed, their sizeable Irish Under-21 contingent will not have any mixed focus.

Railway did a fine job of blocking their open goal last week after goalkeeper Riona Norton went off injured and if they can display that same defensive organisation, they could be well set to repeat their 2-1 league win.

It’s a busy day on the national stage with round two of EYHL Division 2’s group stages. Galway enter the stage with a trip to Corinthian, their young side guided by US Olympian Alyssa Manley who is the player-coach. UCC and Ards are both looking to land their first win of the campaign following opening day draws.

In Pool B, Cork C of I host Lurgan who are playing their first tie of the competition while Monkstown will look to make it two wins from two when they head to NUIG.

It means the Galway side’s Irish Hockey Trophy game with Avoca has been postponed, leaving three ties in that competition on the agenda. Ashton host Clontarf, Genesis face YMCA and Raphoe take on Armagh.

Saturday 27th November 2021 fixtures
Irish Senior Cup, quarter-finals: Glenanne v Cork C of I, St Andrews, 1.15pm; Monkstown v YMCA, Rathdown, 2.30pm; Pembroke v Cookstown, Serpentine Avenue, 2.30pm; Three Rock Rovers v Lisnagarvey, Grange Road, 3pm

Irish Senior Cup, quarter-finals: Banbridge v Catholic Institute, Havelock Park, 1pm; Muckross v Pegasus, Grange Road, 2.30pm; Queens University v Pembroke Wanderers, Malone Playing Fields, 2.30pm; UCD v Railway Union, Belfield, 11.15am

EYHL Division 2
Pool A: Corinthian v Galway, Whitechurch Park, 1.15pm; UCC v Ards, Mardyke, 12pm
Pool B: Cork C of I v Lurgan, Garryduff 12pm; NUIG v Monkstown, Dangan, 1.20pm

Irish Hockey Trophy, quarter-finals: Ashton v Clontarf, Ashton School, 12pm; Genesis v YMCA, St Raphaela’s, 12pm; Raphoe v Armagh, Royal & Prior, 1pm

Monkstown celebrating a goal in midweek against Trinity. PIc: Deryck Vincent