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Tickets flying out for Ireland's Tokyo decider

Fired up: Rachel Johnston of Quins is keen to get going
Fired up: Rachel Johnston of Quins is keen to get going

By John Flack

Ulster Hockey is to allow clubs the option of postponing fixtures on Saturday, November 3 to allow players and officials to attend the women's Olympic qualifiers against Canada at Energia Park in Donnybrook.

The double-header, with a place in Tokyo a reward for the aggregate winners, concludes the following day, and both games look like being a 6,500 sell-out judging by the huge interest that has already been generated.

All 2,500 stand tickets for each day were snapped up within 24 hours of going on sale earlier this week.

Meanwhile, the Irish Senior Cup gets underway tomorrow, with the stand-out tie the meeting of women's Irish Hockey League rivals Loreto and Belfast Harlequins in Dublin.

Neither side will be able to use their Irish internationals, who are preparing for the Olympic qualifiers, meaning Quins will be without Lizzie Colvin and the Barr twins Serena and Bethany, while Loreto will be missing the World Cup silver medal-winning trio of Nicci Daly, Ali Meeke and Hannah Matthews.

Harlequins captain Rachel Johnston said: "We always have tight but high-scoring games against Loreto and I am sure this one will be the same, and we are looking forward to finally getting the season started."

Last season's double all-Ireland champions Pegasus will start as favourites to progress at the expense of Ballymoney.

The top tie in the men's competition is the all-IHL clash between UCD and Annadale, while Ulster champions Instonians will be out to surprise top-flight Monkstown at Shaw's Bridge.

Fixtures: Irish Senior Cup: Men: Bandon v Railway Union; Cork Harlequins v Corinthian; Dublin University v Mossley (2pm); Instonians v Monkstown (2.30pm); UCD v Annadale.

Women: Ballymoney v Pegasus (1pm); Loreto v Belfast Harlequins (3.30pm); Trinity v Banbridge (4pm); Ulster Elks v Pembroke (2.30pm); Old Alex v Railway Union; Cork C of I v UCC; Monkstown v Corinthian; Muckross v UCD.

Results: Ulster Premier: Randalstown 0 Dungannon 3 (K Elliott, J Elliott, L Cassells). Senior Cup Pool A: Ballymena 2 (A Logan, C Gillespie) Armagh 2 (J Stevenson, N Babika); Portadown 1 (A Black) CI 2 (M McKnight, J Maghie). Pool B: Dromore 2 (A Hughes, S Wilson) Coleraine 4 (Z Purdy 2, G Bradley, K Caithness).

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