While Cork C of I are the only Munster side in the men’s EY Hockey League, the Garryduff outfit view tomorrow’s game with Dublin’s Pembroke (Garryduff, 2.30pm) as their main derby for the season.
Indeed, on social media they are pitching it as the “battle of Cork C of I v Dublin C of I” with “both teams playing at home” given the proliferation of players who have made the move north in recent times.
Nick Burns, Stephen Sweetnam, Richard Sweetnam, Wesley Brownlow, Greg Chambers, and Richard Lynch could all feature for Pembroke against their former club while former Bandon men Scott Sullivan and Patrick Shanahan are also at the Ballsbridge club.
The two Sweetnams and Lynch joined from C of I during the summer while Burns, Sullivan, and Shanahan returned to Pembroke after time away.
Throw in Waterford man David Quinn and more than half the Pembroke panel hail from Munster.
Such an influx goes a long way to explaining the Dublin club’s rise into the top half of the table, Alan Sothern’s 11 goals in six games the other key factor.
For C of I, there is a much lower chance of recruiting new faces so their panel is significantly trimmed this season, perhaps explaining a mixed start to the campaign.
Nonetheless, the club is famed for developing from within and teenager Kevin O’Dea is the latest to be promoted into the first team following a star turn for the Munster U16 side.
Tomorrow’s match at Garryduff will also mark the seventh anniversary since the passing of Andy Chambers with a bring and buy cake sale fundraiser in aid of the Irish Heart Foundation taking place throughout the day.
Chambers, then 31, collapsed during C of I’s Irish Senior Cup tie against Kilkeel in 2010 and was unable to be revived.
He was part of the club’s last All-Ireland Club Championships success in 2003 and represented Munster to senior interpro level before his untimely passing.
On the women’s side, Cork Harlequins will also meet Pembroke as they make yet another long EY league away trip, their sixth on the road out of seven matches, looking to extend their unbeaten start to the campaign.
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