The 31-year-old collapsed on the pitch and died prior to the scheduled round one clash on November 13, devastating family, friends, team-mates and opposition.
The fixture will therefore be tinged with sadness no matter what the outcome, but C of I will hope the return of drag-flicking dangerman John Jermyn from international duty will help them progress to round two and a home tie against Cookstown.
That stage of the competition also gets underway tomorrow, with Lisnagarvey’s trip to YMCA the obvious highlight.
The respective pace-setters in Leinster and Ulster have both found goals easy to come by this term, with ‘Garvey’s Timmy Cockram the short corner expert while YM’s Cork-born sharpshooter Jonny Bruton is arguably Ireland’s form dangerman from play.
Bandon will fancy their chances of turning over Ulster strugglers NICS despite having to travel to Stormont, while Annadale’s visit to Glenanne reprises the 2007 final, though the former have fallen from grace since and lie 12 points off the pace in Ulster.
Banbridge, Monkstown and Instonians will be clear favourites to progress from their ties, though the meeting of Leinster midtabler sides Fingal and Three Rock Rovers provides a far tougher call.
Domestically, Catholic Institute will seek a first win of the season as Cork Harlequins B come to Rosbrien. However, the Limerick side have shipped 36 goals in five games while Quins B aren’t short on confidence after dispatching South Antrim and North Down in the Irish Junior Cup.
UCC will be looking to build on last weekend’s hammering of Institute with victory at Cork C of I B. The latter suffered a 5-0 Peard Cup drubbing at the hands of Neil Welch’s students at the start of the campaign, but served notice of their dangerous qualities when almost reining Bandon in late on during a 5-4 defeat last Sunday.
Meanwhile, west Cork provides the focus for a potentially pivotal clash in the Munster women’s top tier, as UCC visit Bandon on Sunday (3pm).
College were held 1-1 on home turf by the same opposition in September and can hardly afford to lose any more ground on leaders Catholic Institute, who are five points clear and should notch three more away to Belvedere.
Bandon are buoyant having won in the Irish Trophy at Ballymena last weekend, and the students will have to contain Hilary Chapple and keep former College stalwart Sarah Gray’s short corner bullets at bay.
Nonetheless, Paidi Hartnett’s side boast plenty quality; Irish international Miriam Crowley and Olivia Roycroft weave the patterns while skipper Ali O’Regan is a lethal finisher.
Further afield, it’s another frenetic weekend on the national front with round two of the ESB Irish Junior Cup, Irish Trophy and Irish Challenge all getting underway.