Double Header for Men’s 1s this weekend

This weekend will see Bann hoping to see some action after last weekends frost denied them their return to EY All Ireland League action. Their scheduled home game against Dubliners Pembroke was correctly cancelled on Friday night to avoid any unnecessary travelling on Saturday morning. At the proposed time of the game on Saturday large areas of the Havelock Park where still rock hard despite the sunny overhead conditions.

The locals strength in depth in their squad will be tested as they face a double header weekend with an away trip to Cork Church of Ireland on Saturday and then a home game against Cookstown on Sunday. Sunday’s game has been included following the earlier postponement of this fixture because of Ireland’s involvement in the World Cup last November.

Saturdays game will see Cork seek to avenge a 3-1 defeat at Havelock Park earlier this season with a late show from Bann seeing them get over the line after falling behind to an early Cork goal. The locals will have to be very weary of John Jerymn’s prowess at short corners as he still remains one of the top exponents of the set piece conversion. C of I now coached by the very experienced Denis Uprichard are a force to be reckoned with at home with Jermyn and several other seasoned campaigners ably supported by some promising young players able to life difficult for Bann to break down. A draw in the corresponding fixture last season was all that the locals could muster and it took a Phillip Brown short conversion in overtime to secure a point.

Bann, sponsored by Hannath Estate Agents and Select Insurance, will be working hard in training this week as coach Mark Tumilty ponders his squad selection for the weekend with a rotation expected to ensure fresh legs are available for Sundays encounter with Ulster rivals Cookstown. Tumilty will assess the fitness of his troups on their return journey on Sat afternoon after the Cork game before confirming Sunday’s squad. At this stage he has a full strength panel to choose from for the first time in over a year.

The Havelock Park faithful will be keen to see the return of top flight hockey for the first time since November when Cookstown come to town for a fixture that the locals will be clear favourites to pick up the three points on offer. The Co Tyrone side are at the wrong end of the table aiming to pull away from the relegation dogfight and do possess enough quality to make life difficult for Bann. Players like Stuart Smyth, Mark Crooks, Greg Allen and Keith Black are all experienced threats and Bann will have to be patient to break them down. Bann will be striving to pick up a maximum six points and keep themselves in good shape at the top end of the table. Glenanne drew at home to Garvey last weekend and a Bann double win would see them take over top spot again from the Dublin side. Both games hit-off at 2.30pm and here’s hoping for some good weather!