Semi-final to savour as holders UCC ready to tackle Harlequins again

CORK HARLEQUINS and UCC will reprise their rivalry for the first time this season tomorrow at Harlequin Park (2pm), with a women’s Munster Senior Cup final berth the reward for the victor.

College have emerged in recent seasons as the primary threat to Quins’ 14-year dominance of the game in Munster, and are the holders following their first cup win since the mid-1990s last term.

Having handed Quins their first league defeat in eight years in 2007/08, College did the double over them in the regulation league season last term.

Nonetheless, Quins claimed the overall honours, seeing off the students 3-2 in a title play-off, so it is College who have something to prove tomorrow.

Both sides must do without key players, however. Quins skipper Cliodhna Sargent misses out due to an ankle injury, which will also keep the defender out of Ireland’s three games with Great Britain next week.

College playmaker Miriam Crowley is another absentee; this encounter clashes with an Ashbourne Cup semi-final against UL, and the Ireland A international has chosen to align with her camogie team-mates.

In the other semi-final, Ashton will need to play the game of their lives to keep Catholic Institute at bay, given the ever-improving Limerick side have put 17 past the Blackrock outfit in their two league encounters.

Institute have an equally important league encounter 24 hours later, welcoming Quins to Rosbrien in a clash that could say much about both sides’ title prospects. C of I meet UL on Sunday, expecting to claim three points from the only side in the league yet to pick up a point.

The other big show in town – frustratingly for fans, scheduled at the same time as the Quins/UCC clash – is the meeting of Quins and C of I in the last four of the men’s Munster Senior Cup at Garryduff.

C of I hold the psychological advantage, having blitzed their rivals 7-4 in a bizarre Peard Cup semi-final before Christmas. John Jermyn scored five that day, and his short corner battle with Quins marksman Dan Hobbs will again go a long way to determining the winner here.

The other semi-final sees in-form Bandon visit Catholic Institute.

The latter’s season has unravelled somewhat in recent weeks, including a painful 6-0 reverse at the hands of the west Cork men, who conversely are finding some real form after a slow start.

Bandon haven’t lost in any competition since the 2-1 league reverse to C of I in November, and have hit 31 goals in their previous five outings.

In the sole men’s league fixture, fourth-placed UCC head to C of I B, where they’ll be hoping to repeat an earlier 3-2 success.

In Leinster, the meeting of the men’s top two – Corinthian and Pembroke Wanderers – is the marquee clash, with the latter seeking to avenge a shock defeat earlier this term.

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