For Munster’s duo of Cork Harlequins and UCC, it means a full weekend on the road. Quins have emerged as Munster’s main contenders by virtue of three wins on the bounce after a sluggish start, but their visit to leaders Hermes tomorrow will help show if they can really mix it at the tournament’s business end.
Quins’ Miriam Crowley helped down UCC 2-0 last week and she lines out against her other former club — from a stint while centralised in Dublin with the Irish national team — at St Andrew’s. Stephen Dale’s charges then go to UCD on Sunday, the students resurgent after spanking Pembroke 5-2 last time out.
UCC, without a win since the opening day of the season, have two tough encounters in Ulster to contend with, going to Ards tomorrow and champions Pegasus on Sunday. Both sides have, like College, found themselves in the lower half of the table amid early season struggles, though, which may represent opportunities for Phil Oakley’s girls.
The men’s EYHL takes a break this weekend, with the boys’ interpros in Cork’s Garryduff Sports Centre taking centre stage, beginning this afternoon.
The last time Munster hosted this tournament in 2012, Andrew Gray’s U18s broke a long record of finishing bottom of the table by going unbeaten against Ulster. Former Ireland women’s coach Denis Pritchard takes charge of the U18s this time around and will be aiming to use his expertise to help them go one step further.
The interpros means the men’s Division 1 is reduced to a single fixture, Galway visiting UCC, as neither side have players involved in the tournament.
Elsewhere, the top two in the women’s Division 1 meet when Bandon host Catholic Institute, bringing together a variety of Munster U18 and U16 team-mates on opposite sides.