Banbridge bid to beat weather
Banbridge are keeping their fingers crossed that their Irish Senior Cup tie at Raphoe this afternoon won’t be a weather casualty ... otherwise they’ll end up in a massive fixture backlog.
The Havelock Park side’s original trip to the Donegal venue was ruled out on January 24 due to the weather, and so they find themselves trying to squeeze it in today - the day that the other teams play their second round ties.
If it is a casualty again - and the weather forecast isn’t encouraging - Bann won’t be able to reschedule it for next week because it’s the Under 21 inter-provincials and they will have three players in Dublin for the series.
That means the earliest date would be February 21 ... which just happens to be the day the THIRD round takes place!
It’s a headache Bann coach Suzanne Evans could do without, especially as her team have the next round of the Irish Hockey League coming up at the start of March, and with three wins from three to date in their pool, they don’t want any distractions.
The big second round tie today is at Hillsborough where Lisnagarvey and Annadale meet head-on.
Garvey’s only real chance of a trophy this season is in the cup, and with the best record in the competition down through the years, coaches Mark Tumilty and Errol Lutton are anxious to ensure their young side carry on that tradition.
Annadale won’t be easy, though, especially as they are looking for all-Ireland glory in their 40th anniversary season.
Altogether, two Ulster clubs are guaranteed a place in the quarter-final draw - Mossley and Civil Service are involved in the other all-Ulster clash.
Premier League champions should make it three at Fingal, although it’s a tricky trip to Dublin, and Banbridge would like to make it four although they first have to clear that first round tie at Raphoe before they face another lengthy journey - this time to Cork Harlequins - in the delayed second round game.
Bangor and North Down have home advantage over Leinster giants Three Rock Rovers and Glenanne respectively but will find it hard to eliminate the in-form Dubliners.