That a club’s second XI could win a competition for the province’s best teams says everything about the depth of talent available to Cork Church of Ireland ahead of the Peard Cup final today (Garryduff, 2pm).
C of I B take on Cork Harlequins in this year’s decider and any time their first team - who are flying high in the EY Hockey League — aren’t concurrently in action, it gives the seconds a wealth of talent to call upon.
The Garryduff club have produced many of the province’s best young players in the last decade, while their presence as the only Munster club in the national league has seen others migrate from other clubs to play at the top level.
It means their second team can potentially call on the likes of former Ireland internationals David Hobbs and Phil Smith, current Ireland U21 squad members Simon Wolfe, Peter Coulter and Phil Brownlow plus Lynch brothers Richard and David, both of whom have worn green at Ireland underage level, for Monday’s showpiece.
Former Ireland U21 international Stuart O’Grady is available too, having recently rejoined from Railway Union.
It gives Cork Harlequins a mountain to climb, but they are not without their own strengths. John Hobbs is still a major presence from play and short corners, while former international goalkeeper Wes Bateman’s return to the pads after a number of years outfield has been a massive success this term.
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