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Cup holders Instonians and Bangor unable to defend their silverware

By Graham Hamilton

The Kirk Cup and Linden Cup draws for the early season programme have been made - and neither of last year's winners will be defending their trophies.

Instonians won the Kirk Cup on Boxing Day but aren't eligible this season as they have moved up to the Irish Hockey League, while Bangor won the Linden Cup on New Year's Day but have moved up to the Kirk Cup as that competition reverts to a 16-team four-pool format.

Some had hoped to see Ulster's all-Ireland league clubs - Lisnagarvey, Banbridge and Instonians - back in the mainstream Ulster cup competitions but the status quo remains.

The two Ulster clubs relegated from the IHL, Annadale and Cookstown, are seeded teams in the Kirk Cup, along with Kilkeel and Harlequins.

The Kirk Cup starts in the second week of next month and the Linden Cup a week later while the EY Irish Hockey League starts with a weekend double -Saturday and Sunday games - on September 24 and 25.

Kirk Cup: Pool A: Annadale, North Down, Civil Service, Newry. Pool B: Kilkeel, Bangor, Raphoe, Portadown. Pool C: Belfast Harlequins, Antrim, Queen's, Mossley. Pool D: Cookstown, Campbellians, Cliftonville, South Antrim.

Linden Cup: Pool A: Saintfield, Parkview, Ballynahinch, Ballymena. Pool B: Armagh, PSNI, Down, Portrush.

Belfast Telegraph

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