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Inst delight as Paul returns for third spell

 

Returning hero: Paul Gleghorne playing for Instonians in 2014
Returning hero: Paul Gleghorne playing for Instonians in 2014

By John Flack

Ireland defender Paul Gleghorne has moved back to Instonians for a third spell after switching his allegiance from Lisnagarvey, in a major boost for the south Belfast club.

The 32-year-old has amassed 238 international caps, the last of which he earned at the European Championship in Antwerp in August.

Gleghorne will be hoping to help Instonians successfully defend their Ulster Premier League title and then book a return to the EY Irish Hockey League.

"It was great news for the club when we learned that Paul may have an interest in returning to Instonians," said club coach Stephen Watt.

"His influence both on and off the pitch I feel can only benefit the playing group, and those who know Paul will understand what I mean when I say that."

Inst continue their domestic campaign on Saturday when they face struggling Raphoe at Shaw's Bridge, while Lisnagarvey and Cookstown will be flying the Ulster flag in the quarter-finals of the Irish Senior Cup.

Both have home advantage, with Garvey taking on Cork C of I, who were relegated from the EY Irish Hockey League last season, and Cookstown hosting Pembroke.

Garvey will be expected to progress against the Munster League side but Cookstown will start as underdogs against the Dubliners, who compete in the top-flight.

But Reds captain Mark Crooks is confident his side can make the most of their home advantage tomorrow despite the odds favouring Pembroke, with Cookstown now back in the Ulster League having been relegated from the IHL last season.

"This is a huge opportunity for us, a home draw is a massive advantage in the Irish Senior Cup and we should go into the match confident given how we've played for large parts of this season," Crooks said.

"I know that our guys are determined not to let the chance of a semi-final pass them by as we did last season against Cork C of I.

"We've been going well and scoring plenty of goals, so there's nothing to prevent us from really giving it a proper lash.

"There was very little between us and Pembroke in the IHL last season. They beat us at our place and we got the win at Serpentine Avenue back in March.

"This promises to be a great match between two teams with a proud history in the Irish Senior Cup, so I've no doubt both will be going all out to make sure that they make the next round."

SATURDAY'S FIXTURES: Irish Senior Cup: quarter-finals: Cookstown v Pembroke Wanderers (2.45pm); Glenanne v Monkstown; Lisnagarvey v Cork C of I (1pm); UCD v Three Rock Rovers

Ulster Premier: Ballynahinch v North Down (1pm); Instonians v Raphoe (2.30pm); Portadown v Newry (1pm)

Intermediate League: Antrim v Civil Service (1pm); Armagh v Saintfield (1pm); Portadown v Newry (1pm); Down v CI; Parkview v Portrush

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