This Saturday sees big time late afternoon hockey continue at Havelock Park when the emerging talent of Dublin university side UCD lock horns with Swallow Groupage backed Bann at 4.30pm in the second round of games in this season’s Irish Hockey League.  Both teams will be hoping to pick up the four points on offer as they bid to progress to the finals at the same Havelock Park venue on the first weekend in April 2014.  

Bann will be hoping to continue to make home advantage count as they seek to build on their opening win over Cork Church of Ireland last weekend.  UCD on the other hand will be hoping to open their account following their reversal against defending champions Monkstown last weekend in Dublin.

Bann coach Mark Tumilty will be glad to see the end of Bann’s league programme last week which sees them top of the table but old rivals Lisnagarvey have games in hand but will need to keep the scoreboard ticking over if they are to overhaul Bann for the top spot.  The locals are currently 9 points clear and 13 goals to the good but Garvey have 3 games in hand and possess the firepower to claw back the goal difference but Bann have given them something to shoot at.

Tumilty’s sole focus is now the IHL and with a full strength panel now at his disposal he will be attempting to get his side to peak for the final series of matches and that continues this Saturday with the visit of UCD who former Bann favourite Peter Brown in their ranks.  The Dubliners have picked up several quality players including Brown and will be a tough nut for Bann to crack.

Coached by the experienced Rory O’Donoghue and Liam Canning, UCD can call upon the likes of Shane O’Donoghue whose prowess at short corners is well documented and along with Peter Brown, Nick Burns, Ross Canning, Kirk Shimmins,and Jeremy Duncan have all represented Ireland at senior level and recently at the under 21 invitational tournament at Mossley.

Bann however have certainly found their goalscoring touch in recent weeks with the red machine having found the net on no less than 42 occasions in their last 5 matches.  They will however be aware of the quality possessed by the Dublin side and will have to work extremely hard to match the youthful enthusiasm of the students.  One thing is certain, the match will be played at a quick pace and with the quality on show, a top class match that befits the status of the IHL should be on offer.

Saturday’s match is again part of the BHC experience as it is preceded by a European fundraising lunch, details of which are available on the club website, and also on the match schedule is the meeting of Bann’s 3rd and 4th ladies XIs in the semi-final of the Minor Cup at 1.00pm.  These two games should ensure that Havelock Park is yet again no place for the faint hearted!