Bandon will need another big effort as they bid to salvage their season with qualification for the EY Hockey League for the first time.
Denis Pritchard’s side have been nearly men on more occasions than they would have liked in the past few seasons. They’ve lost the last three Irish Hockey Trophy finals, had leads overhauled in a pair of Peard Cup deciders, and last weekend lost the Munster Division 1 title thanks to a pair of one-goal defeats to UCC inside eight days.
Motivation thus won’t be lacking for the West Cork men, who are in Rathdown, Dublin, taking on Corinthians, Belfast Harlequins, and Clontarf over the week-end, with the top two advancing to the knockout stages.
Munster’s other representative, UCC, are in Lisnagarvey, with UCD, Raphoe, and Instonians in their pool.
Neil Welch’s side travel on a high having annexed a first provincial title in over 100 years of trying. However, should they make the knockout stages they could be down half their panel due to exam commitments.
Bandon will be the sole Munster team flying the flag for the southern province in the women’s EYHL playoffs. Title winners Catholic Institute and third-placed Limerick both refused invitations to the tournament, while fourth-placed Ashton’s appeals to be included in their stead were rejected by the EYHL working group.
David Buttimer’s Bandon have surpassed expectations this year with two pieces of silverware, a maiden Irish Hockey Trophy, and the Division 1 Plate.
Skipper Steph Peters’ broken wrist rules her out as they lock horns with Belfast Harlequins, Galway, and favourites Loreto at Rathdown.
The overall winners of both the men’s and women’s playoffs will get an automatic place in next season’s EYHL, with the runners-up getting a shot at a promotion/relegation playoff with the national league’s ninth-placed side.
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