Both Catholic Institute and Cork Harlequins will be without key figures for their big EY Hockey League showdown at Rosbrien tomorrow (12pm).
Quins’ coach Darren Collins admits he is unlikely to risk World Cup silver medalist Yvonne O’Byrne for the tie due to an ongoing foot injury.
Rather than parachute her in for this tie, Collins is hopeful she will return along with Cliodhna Sargent – after her ACL recuperation – in February at full throttle when the league returns for its second phase.
Their hopes are further hampered by the fact that U21 international Michelle Barry is exam-tied, placing further responsibility on Rebecca Barry and Emma Barber to spearhead their challenge.
Insta coach Dave Passmore has confirmed that Roisin Upton will miss the glamour tie after a recent x-ray on her broken wrist showed it had not fully healed.
It means there will be a youthful look to both sides this weekend.
Collins included seven schoolgirls in the side that pushed Old Alex close last Saturday with transition year student Lauren Cripps outstanding in midfield with Leah O’Shea leading the forward line.
While he hails the kids for stepping up superbly this term, Quins missed a vital bit of experience in close ties against Muckross and Pegasus.
"They are very young, very talented but, at this level, any mistakes get punished,” Collins said, reflecting particularly on leaders Pegasus nicking a winner with four minutes to go.
“Other than Pembroke, every other game we had chances; we are knocking on the door and need a little bit of luck to go our way.
We hope that, with our full squad, in the second half of the season we will start climbing up the table quickly.
As for the threat Institute pose, he says it is imperative they limit the amount of ball that goes to Naomi Carroll whose close skills have been sharpened by six indoor international games in the past 10 days.
For the Limerick hosts, meanwhile, Passmore is reporting a clean bill of health other than Upton for a double weekend with Loreto also visiting on Sunday.
He is keen for his side not to get too caught up in the derby element of the contest.
“The key thing is we play it as another game, not as Munster rivals. We don’t really change the way we play – we are just trying to get better at what we are trying to do.
"We do play some great attacking stuff but have been a bit leaky at the back which we need to solve.”
Elsewhere, the men’s Munster Division One schedule sees Cork C of I look to finish the first half of the season with a perfect record when they host Waterford.
Second-placed Bandon travel to fifth-ranked UCC.