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Anderson Cup comes too early for Magee's planned return to action

 

By Graham Hamilton

Ireland's most capped player, Eugene Magee, is hoping to make a come back soon from the broken hand which has kept him out of action since the World Cup finals in India.

But Saturday's Anderson Cup quarter-final against the winners of Annadale and Kilkeel's tie tonight may come too soon.

Magee, who received a Special Recognition Award on Monday evening at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards, is making good progress.

However, he won't know for certain when he can return until a specialist examines his hand later this month.

"I'm getting there," said the Banbridge striker who would like to return for the restart of the Irish Hockey League in February.

"I'm feeling positive but won't know for sure until my hand is x-rayed again on January 25."

Magee has already won 277 caps for Ireland and could add to that tally if he makes the squad for the Hockey Series Final in France in June, a tournament which is effectively part of the Tokyo Olympic Games qualifying process.

Bann won't know Saturday's cup opponents until after the second leg of the first round tie between Annadale and Kilkeel which is scheduled for this evening at Strathearn (7.45pm).

Cup holders Kilkeel hold a slender 3-2 lead but the Irish Hockey League club are hoping to overturn that on their home ground to set up a repeat of Boxing Day's Kirk Cup final.

It's virtually a waiting game all round for Saturday's cup quarter-finals, although it's almost certain that Cookstown and Lisnagarvey are going to progress from their second legs to take on Newry Olympic and Bangor respectively.

Cookstown have a seven goal advantage going into the return game at Portadown while Garvey have a five goal advantage for their second leg against South Antrim at Hillsborough.

Tomorrow evening's clash between Instonians and Mossley (8pm) will decide who hosts North Down in Saturday's other quarter-final.

Inst are 2-1 up from the first leg and, with home advantage, go in as favourites to progress.

TONIGHT: Anderson Cup 1st round 2nd leg: Annadale v Kilkeel (7.45pm); Lisnagarvey v South Antrim (7.45pm)

TOMORROW: Anderson Cup 1st round 2nd leg: Instonians v Mossley (8pm)

SATURDAY: Anderson Cup 2nd round 1st leg: Kilkeel or Annadale v Banbridge; Mossley or Instonians v North Down; Newry Oly. v Portadown or Cookstown (2.30pm); South Antrim or Lisnagarvey v Bangor

Ulster Premier League Division B: Portadown v Civil Service (1pm); Queen's v Belfast Harlequins (1pm); Raphoe v Antrim (2.30pm)

Intermediate League: Ballymena v Portrush (1pm); Down v CI (2pm); Parkview v Saintfield (2.30pm); PSNI v Armagh (2.30pm)

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