Men’s EYHL quarter-finals see Bann hoping to land ticket to own party

The men’s EY Champions Trophy playoff series gets under way this weekend with Banbridge hosting YMCA and Glenanne facing Monkstown in the first running of a quarter-final phase.

Banbridge will be hoping to make sure they will get to play hosts to their own party on finals weekend on April 23 and 24 as they go up against YMCA at Havelock Park.

Bann have not lost in any frontline competition since October 16’s Irish Senior Cup tie against Monkstown and they have won twice against the Y this season to date, 4-2 at home and 3-2 away.

With 15 points between the sides in the table, in that light, the Co Down side take on the favourites tag. Jonny McKee leads the line with 13 goals this term while Hugh McShane, Brown brothers Peter and Philip and the Magees Eugene and Owen provide lots of experience.

YMCA’s Sam Ryder. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Charlie Rowe has been a break-out star this season as has his twin Louis before injury curtailed his campaign. Matthew McKee and Ben Pollock are others on the rise.

For YM, they won three of their last six games to move from the fringes of the relegation fight to comfortable safety and assure a highest ever finish on the final day of the season when they beat Corinthian 2-1.

And this playoff series provides an extra opportunity after a progressive season, reaching both the Mills and Neville Cup finals.

Grant Glutz has whizzed in nine times in the EYHL while Ross Henderson, Sam Hyland and Harry McCarthy have all chipped in for a side with an explosive capacity on the counter-attack.

Glenanne’s last day win over Annadale allowed them to jump back up to fourth spot, moving ahead of Monkstown who let a point slip against Three Rock Rovers in the last few seconds.

It gives them a relative home advantage on Saturday at St Andrew’s against Town for the short hop along the coast, though over a dozen of their panel did attend the Booterstown school.

In terms of this season, Monkstown won both league meetings in very close battles both times, 1-0 and 2-1.

The sky-blues have endured a number of injury issues which saw them struggle for consistency during the campaign. Davy Carson and Mark Gibbons were in productive form during the second half of the season while Guy Sarratt has his regular place near the top of the scoring charts with 12 to his name.

Glenanne have home advantage. Pic: Adrian Boehm

In Shane O’Donoghue, they have the league’s top scorer by some distance, netting 23 times this season but Town did manage to keep him at bay in the two meetings to date.

Both sides have been strong defensively this term with goalkeepers David Lawless and David Fitzgerald enjoying strong campaigns and how they hold up against two of the league’s most venomous penalty corner shooters will be key.

The women’s EY Hockey League quarter-finals have both been postponed due to the Irish Under-21 women’s ongoing Junior World Cup campaign in Potchefstroom.

Pegasus’s date with UCD has been postponed until April 20th (8pm) at Queen’s while Old Alex’s game against Loreto will be on the same night at 7.30pm in Beaufort.

On Sunday, the boys inteprovincial season reaches its final stage with Ulster facing Leinster in both the Under-16 and 18 finals.

The northern province have been the form team at both levels in the group stages with perfect records to date. The games take place at 2pm and 4pm, respectively.

Saturday 9th April 2022
EYHL Division 1 – Quarter-Finals:
Banbridge v YMCA, Havelock Park, 3pm; Glenanne v Monkstown, St Andrews, 1.30pm

Sunday 10th April 2022
Boys Interpronvicials
Under-16 final:
Ulster v Leinster, Rathdown, 2pm
Under-18 final: Ulster v Leinster, Rathdown, 4pm

Monkstown’s Jeremy Duncan. Pic: Adrian Boehm