Quins aim to get back in hunt against goal-shy Bandon

BANDON will look to be the fly in Cork Harlequins’ ointment in a clash that is likely to end the losers’ faint title hopes at Harlequin Park tomorrow (12pm).

Quins were rocked before Christmas as a contentious penalty stroke saw Catholic Institute escape from Cork with all three points.

It leaves Quins seven points adrift of defending champions Institute after five games each, so Stephen Dale’s side cannot afford a slip-up.

John Dennis’ Bandon side have once again matched defensive solidity with a poor return in front of goal — they’ve hit just three goals in four league outings, but are mid-table with two wins from four — and that’ll need to change if they are to maintain their own challenge for a top two slot.

Ciara McCarthy and Amy Roycroft have made the vital interventions for them this term but Quins have a solid look about them since the return of Karen Bateman and Jane Chapple, while Leanne Mullins has come into her own in midfield.

Institute, for their part, must avoid complacency as they host basement side Cork Church of Ireland. Phil Smith’s young charges have yet to pick up a win this term but until a 6-0 aberration against UCC, margins had been fine in their previous encounters.

Emma Dobson and Emily Reidy are among those who might give Institute some headaches, but the Limerick side should have too much class throughout with Eimear Cregan finding the net for fun and Róisín Upton continuing her return to form since returning from the foot injury that prevented her captaining the Munster U18s at this year’s interpros.

Elsewhere, Institute’s men are playing catch-up in every sense, having yet to eke out a three-pointer and having gone without a league game since mid-November.

The arrival of one of the big two’s second string to Rosbrien sees opportunity knock for a confidence-boosting win, and it’s Cork C of I B who come calling tomorrow (12pm). The visitors will be mostly serviced by the starlets of the Munster U16 and U18 sides but the hosts gave C of I’s firsts a good rattle for long periods in the Peard Cup and have dangermen up top in Eric Callender and Cathal Duggan.

Meanwhile, the National Indoor Trophy commands attention countrywide, with qualifiers underway in Leinster, Ulster and Connacht ahead of next weekend’s finals. No Munster sides entered the competition.

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