Zoe Wilson has overcome a hamstring injury and will line out for Belfast Harlequins in Saturday’s crucial EYHl game with Old Alex at Deramore.
The Ireland World Cup silver medallist missed last weekend’s disappointing 5-1 defeat to Loreto in Dublin which saw her team slip out of the play-off places. But she will be back on Saturday after scoring twice for Quins in their 6-2 opening Denman Ulster Shield game win over Ballymoney at the Joey Dunlop Centre on Wednesday night
Harlequins other scorers were Claire Weir, Gemma Frazer, Jenna Watt and Rhiannon Coulter with Money replying through Holly Bar and Susie Brown after coming back from 2-1 down at half-time to go 2-4 late on.
Also on Saturday in the EYHL, Pegasus will be confident that they can see off basement side Muckross in Dublin while Ards will be aiming for a first win of the season when they host Railway Union.
In the IHL’s second-tier, Queen’s will be out to make it four wins from four when they take on Corinthian while Dungannon face local rivals Lurgan.
The Denman Ulster Shield continues as Ballymena entertain Mossley with the former making their return to the competition following their promotion last season. Meanwhile Ireland captain Katie Mullan has urged businesses around the country to consider employing international players to allow them to combine sport and work as they prepare for the Olympic qualifying campaign.
Mullan believes the relationship would be mutually beneficial if companies could be sympathetic to the huge commitment that will be involved. In the build up to the World Cup, for example, many of the Irish players, who were in full-time employment, had to take around 50 days off work to fulfil their commitments. The national team played more than 20 matches ahead of the London showpiece, several of which took place outside Ireland, with trips to Spain and Germany.
Some of the players had to take unpaid leave or go part-time to be able to commit fully to the preparations while others took career breaks and gave up work completely. Mullan is a case in point as she is now playing most of her hockey in Germany, having put her career on hold after graduating from UCD. She is however back home for a few weeks while the German season moves indoors and is eligible to play for Ballymoney, for whom she scored twice in Saturday’s win over Lisnagarvey.
The 24-year-old, who has been appointed as a Sport Northern Ireland ‘Sport into Business’ ambassador, is currently unable to fully commit to a first job with so much hockey ahead in the build-up to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. The Coleraine woman said: ” As regards the Ireland captaincy, I’m just the lucky one who gets to wear the armband and it’s such a team effort.”
“There is such an incredible leadership group and a vast amount of experience in the squad and we work really well together. I think that all of the girls have learned and developed valuable skills through our sporting journey that could be very, very useful in a lot of business environments.”
“They might not be there for the same number of hours as other staff but if you employ any of the girls in our squad, they would give you 110% in every minute that they were there. I just hope that employers can see the value that we could add to their business and get behind it. It’s about being able to find the balance where we’re in a position in our in our career that allows us to achieve to the best of our ability both in the sports field and in our jobs.”
The Irish Senior Cup takes centre stage on the men’s front, with Lisnagarvey, Cookstown and Banbridge all fancied to progress. Garvey face Leinster minnows Kilkenny at home while Banbridge should overcome Corinthian, and Cookstown will be expected to beat Belfast Harlequins. However, they won’t be taking anything for granted especially after EYHL rivals Annadale just about beat Quins in the Kirk Cup recently.
“We’ve had two really disappointing results, but yet they were really encouraging displays over the last few weeks in the EYHL,” said Cooktown defender Matthew Rollins.
“Combine that with strong showings in the Kirk Cup and I think it sets us up nicely for an Irish Senior Cup run. But we’ll not be getting ahead of ourselves – the main thing will be to concentrate on getting all the details right against Harlequins, keeping to our game plan and then putting away our chances when they arrive.”
Kilkeel host EYHL basement side Dublin YMCA with a reasonable chance of progressing but Dale have it all to do when they face Three Rock Rovers in Dublin.
In the Irish Hockey Trophy quarter-finals, North Down start favourites against Portadown, while Civil Service are at home to Limerick’s Catholic Institute.
The only games in the Ulster Premier involve Bangor hosting South Antrim with Newry facing Antrim and high-flying Mossley hosting Queen’s at The Glade while Mikey Watt hit four of the goals as as Inst beat Antrim 10-1 midweek.
Women – Ulster Premier League
20:00 Rainey v Ulster Elks @ Uni. Of Ulster Jordanstown
Men – Irish Senior Cup – Round 3
16:00 Belfast Harlequins v Cookstown @ Deramore Park
15:30 Corinthians v Banbridge @ St. Columba’s College, Kilmashogue Lane, Rathfarnham, Dublin
14:30 Cork Church of Ireland v University College Dublin @ Garryduff
13:00 Kilkeel v YMCA @ Kilkeel High Sch
Lisnagarvey v Kilkenny @ Lisnagarvey HC
14:30 Pembroke Wanderers v Clontarf @ Serpentine Ave.
15:00 Three Rock Rovers v Annadale @ Three Rock Rovers HC
Irish Hockey Trophy – Round 2
14:30 Ashton v Rathgar @ Ashton School
N.I. Civil Service v Catholic Institute @ NICS, Stormont
14:40 North Down v Portadown @ Comber LC
14:30 Waterford v University College Cork @ Newtown Sch.
Ulster Premier League
14:30 Bangor v South Antrim @ Bangor Aurora
14:30 Mossley v Queens University @ Mossley HC
13:00 Newry v Antrim @ Newry H.C.
Ulster Intermediate League
13:00 Ballynahinch v Parkview @ St. Colmans H.S.
14:30 Saintfield v Armagh @ Saintfield Cricket Club
EY Hockey League – Round 8
14:30 Ards v Railway Union @ Londonderry Park
14:30 Belfast Harlequins v Old Alexandra @ Deramore Park
13:00 Loreto v Pembroke Wanderers @ Three Rock Rovers HC
15:15 Muckross v Pegasus @ Muckross Park Sch.
13:00 University College Dublin v Cork Harlequins @ Belfield
EYHL 2 – Round 4 – Pool 1
13:30 Corinthians v Queens University@ St. Columba’s College, Kilmashogue Lane, Rathfarnham, Dublin
15:30 Trinity v University College Cork @ Trinity Sports Grounds
EYHL 2 – Round 4 – Pool 2
14:30 Dungannon v Lurgan @ Royal Sch.
12:30 Monkstown v Catholic Institute @ The Merrion Fleet Arena, Monkstown
Ulster Senior 1
13:00 CI v Coleraine @ CIYMS Sports Ground
14:30 Priorians v Armagh @ Foyle College
Ulster Denman Shield (Pool C)
14:30 Ballymena v Mossley @ Ballymena Showgrounds
Ulster McConnell Shield
Ards 2 v Ulster Elks 2
Belfast Harlequins 2 v Dromore
CI 2 v Queens University 2
Cookstown v Mossley 2
Lurgan 2 v Lisnagarvey 2
Pegasus 2 v Holywood
Ulster Senior Cup – Semi Final
13:00 Raphoe v Club KV @ Cookstown HC
15:00 Omagh v Portadown @ Cookstown HC