Tumilty back at Banbridge as short-term coach cover
Former Irish international Lee Tumilty, who retired from hockey during the close season, is making his comeback this weekend - as a coach.
Lee is to take on the role at his former club Banbridge for Saturday's Vi-Sport Premier League game at Civil Service in the absence of Neil Madeley and his assistant Mark Evans who are both in Dublin over the weekend at the schoolboy inter-provincials.
Neil is assistant to Gordon Cracknell with the Ulster Under 18s while Mark is there in his Irish Under 18 capacity, leaving a huge gap on the sidelines for Bann.
But Madeley is in no doubt that Tumilty will do a good job in his absence.
"Lee was an experienced international player and knows all about the game," insists Madeley. "He has been getting involved in coaching with us at the club, and knows our style of play and how to get the best out of the lads.
"I've no doubt he'll rise to the occasion, and that the experience of it will whet his appetite to become more involved in the coaching aspect."
It means that Bann's trip to Civil Service will see Tumilty pit his knowledge against the coach who taught him much that he knows - Fergie Cosgrove.
Fergie, of course, was coach at Banbridge Academy where Tumilty came through the ranks, going on to play with Banbridge and Lisnagarvey's senior teams as well as Ulster and Ireland.
Service are picking up now after a difficult start to the season, but Bann - despite the absence of last week's goalscorer Dane Ward - remain favourites to win to keep the pressure on leaders Lisnagarvey, champions Annadale, Cookstown and Instonians.
The big league clash, though, is at Cookstown where Garvey are the visitors, and both are understrength due to the inter-provincials.
Annadale and Instonians, with their internationals back on board, are anticipated winners against Kilkeel and Bangor respectively, while the big Senior One game involves North Down and Mossley at Comber.
In Dublin the Ulster U18s and U16s will find it hard to retain their titles, but there's sufficient mix of youth and experience to be in with a realistic chance.
Gordon Cracknell's U18s have a strong defence based around Neil Hamilton (RBAI) and Matthew Smyth (Banbridge Academy) and in RBAI's Chris Gregg they have an exceptional goalscorer, as well as the skills from Cookstown High's Stuart Smyth, Steven Sloan and David Best and RBAI's Ryan McCrea.
Glen Stranex's U16s have many new faces and include some familiar names, including the son of Olympic gold medallist Stephen Martin.
Under 18 inter-provincials (Newpark, Dublin): Friday: Leinster v Munster (12.45pm), Munster v Ulster (4.15pm); Saturday: Leinster v Ulster (12.15pm); Leinster v Munster (3.45pm); Sunday: Ulster v Munster (11.45am); Leinster v Ulster (3.15pm).
Under 16 inter-provincials (Bewpark, Dublin): Friday: Leinster v Munster (11am); Munster v Ulster (2.30pm); Saturday: Leinster v Ulster (10.30am); Leinster v Munster (2pm); Sunday: Ulster v Munster (10am); Leinster v Ulster (1.30pm).
Ulster U18s: Sam Brown (Sullivan Upper), Aaron Appleton (Banbridge Acadey), Shane Boyce (Banbridge Academy), John Colville (RBAI), Drew Carlisle (Banbridge Academy), Neil Hamilton (RBAI), Matthew Smyth (Banbridge Academy), Chris Gregg (RBAI), Stephen Sloan (Cookstown High), Ryan Bell (Banbridge Academy), David Ames (Cookstown High), Simon Cox (Bangor Grammar), Mark McCague (Banbridge Academy), Ryan McCrea (RBAI), William Robinson (RBAI), Stewart Kirk (Campbell College), Stuart Smyth (Cookstown High), David Best (Cookstown High).
Ulster U16s: Colin Cleland (Friends), Alistair Thom (Cookstown High), Jonathan Ames (Cookstown High), Richard Arneill (Wallace High), Ross Beattie (Craigavon High), Philip Brown (Banbridge Academy), Mark Crooks (Cookstown High), Stephen Dowds (Banbridge Academy), Scott Forbes (Banbridge Academy), Matthew Gray (Banbridge Academy), Stephen Hunter (Wallace High), Daniel MacAuley (Banbridge Academy), Peter MacDonnell (Wallace High), Richard Magowan (Banbridge Academy), Patrick Martin (Sullivan Upper), Peter Purcell (Sullivan Upper), Neil Stevenson (Kilkeel High), Thomas Welshman (RBAI).
Vi-Sport Premier League: Cookstown v Lisnagarvey, Cookstown HS, 2.30pm (Umpires, R Ewart, C Hutchinson); Annadale v Kilkeel, Lough Moss LC, 2.30pm (Umpires, W McCully, G Maguire); Instonians v Bangor, Shaw's Bridge, 1pm (Umpires, D Stewart, C McConkey); Civil Service v Banbridge, Stormont, 2.30pm (Umpires, R Burton, R Johnston).
Senior One: North Down v Mossley, Comber LC, 2.30pm (Umpires, T Larmour, T Templeton); Ballynahinch v Raphoe Laurelhill, 4pm (Umpires, H McNeill, G Herron); Portadown v Antrim, Edenvilla, 1pm (Umpires, J McAllister, R Kendrick); Newry v South Antrim, Newry, 2.30pm (Umpires, C Brown, L Allen); Queen's v Cliftonville, Upper Malone, 1pm (Umpires, C Telford, K Glass).