Cork C of I starlets keen to send a message to Meredith

Cork Church of Ireland will be all out to prove to Irish coach Andrew Meredith their players deserve a better crack at international recognition as they take on YMCA in a vital Irish Hockey League clash at Serpentine Avenue tomorrow.

The decision to scrap Irish regional men’s training in Cork hasn’t sat well with C of I who provided three international centurions in recent years and reckon they have plenty of talent who might wear green in the coming years.

Both C of I and YM lost twice last weekend and only a victory here will keep them in the shake-up for a semi-final spot heading into the last round of group stages.

Elsewhere in Pool B it’s top vs bottom as pace-setters Banbridge and Lisnagarvey meet Railway Union and Glenanne respectively. Victory for Bann guarantees them a last four slot but ‘Garvey — three points behind their Ulster rivals — still have work to do against a Glens side who beat them 3-2 when they last met in 2010.

In Pool A, Cork Harlequins welcome back goalkeeper Chris Daunt as they look for their first points of the season against an in-form Annadale at Lough Moss. Daunt, who is now based in Stockholm, will make a cameo appearance and will need to be sharp against a side who shocked Pembroke 3-2 last time out.

Cookstown and Monkstown is the top-of-the-table clash in that pool — a reprisal of their epic 2011 Irish Senior Cup final, won 4-3 by the Tyrone men — with Pembroke and Instonians both fighting to keep slim qualification hopes alive.

Pool B provides most of the intrigue in the women’s IHL with all six teams still mathematically in contention.

Ards’ excellent start to the campaign came off the rails with a 1-0 reverse to Ballymoney last Sunday but they’ll fancy their chances against an improving Old Alex once they can quell the influence of Shirley McCay who netted two sweet reverses in the win over Lurgan last time out.

Ballymoney and Cork Harlequins meet in Belfast, with the Leesiders’ need being greater after defeats to Ards and UCD last weekend.

Having recovered from their opening day defeat to Ards, UCD will be fancied to top this pool and should advance their cause with victory over a youthful Lurgan side who have nonetheless impressed in this tournament, not least in coming from three goals down to beat Ballymoney 5-3.

Pool A is living up to its ‘group of death’ reputation despite Loreto racking up three wins from three so far. Pegasus in Belfast will be a tough test for the leaders while Railway Union play luckless Ulster Elks, who are without a win and have seen six of their regulars go down with injuries in recent weeks including captain Laura Wilson.

Catholic Institute are in Dublin again to play Hermes, hoping to bounce back from three-goal losses to Railway and Loreto last time out.

Meanwhile, the second annual Masters Interpros take place at Grange Road, with the tournament expanding to include 12 men’s teams and six women’s teams across the O40, O45 and O50 age grades.

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