Friday, February 20, 2009

Women's ESB Irish Senior Cup preview

Into the breach once more as the IHA pray for a mild weekend to avoid further disruptions to the Irish Senior Cup programmes. Three Leinster sides are guaranteed to go through to the last eight while three will definitely go out as Leinster sides all lock horns in their home province.

The only cross-border tie sees Belfast Harlequins visit Pembroke in what could be the tie of the round. The IHL pair both have their respective sharp-shooters - Louisa Moore for Wanderers, Kelli Thornton for Quins.

Jenny McDonough (pictured in action against Loreto) is also free to focus on her club hockey after her retirment from the international scene and could be a major threat, too.

UCD will aim to add the scalp of Loreto - the 2003 champions - to their first round defeat of Hermes, though the form guide would suggest a home win.

The Beaufort side won in early January 2-0 but the scarcity of matches since the turn of the year - and the snow that has disrupted training along the Grange Road may have taken the momentum out of Loreto's sails.

They do possess the more potent match-winners in Nikki Symmons and Cathy McKean but the students have one of the sternest defences around and if they can nick an early goal it could make for an interesting afternoon.

Railway face another tricky test, playing the only side to take points off them in the Leinster league, Old Alex. Kate Dillon, though, looks to be regaining form after her long time away in Australia and impressed on Thursday night as a marauding centre-back against Glenanne.

For the Glens, they will hope to emulate their 5-0 win over Corinthian a month ago with the Geoffroy sisters (Ali is pictured, right) coming face to face. This time, they do it without home advantage though both sides have struggled to get out to training in the past few weeks.

Elsewhere, Cork C of I face the big trip of the day, going all the way up to Ballymoney while local rivals Lurgan and Armagh face off at Craigavon.

ESB Irish Senior Cup – Round 2

Loreto v UCD, 2.45pm, Beaufort; Railway Union v Old Alex, 2.30pm, Park Avenue; Corinthian v Glenanne, 3pm, Whitechurch; Lurgan v Armagh, 2.30pm, Brownlow; Ballymoney v Cork C of I, 2.30pm, Joey Dunlop; Pembroke v Belfast HQ, 3.30pm, Serpentine Ave

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