The past should prove an inspiration rather than a burden for Cork Harlequins as they bid to become the longest odds Irish Senior Cup winners in some time.
Quins are back in the semi-finals for the first time since a controversial defeat to Glenanne in 2007, which signalled the end of an era that saw them reach — and lose — three finals in four years before finally breaking their duck with a 2-1 success over Lisnagarvey in 2006.
But now, having dispatched Ulster opponents Banbridge and Annadale in home ties, Munster’s double-winners are back where they want to be, locking horns with Instonians in today’s semi-final at Belfield (5pm). There is no shortage of links to the 2006 vintage. Eight of the current Quins panel were involved that day, with two more unused subs.
The meeting of ‘Garvey and Railway in the other semi-final (3pm) is equally intriguing, providing a serious giant-killing opportunity for Railway. The Park Avenue outfit, backboned by Kenny Carroll, Rob Abbott and Peter and Mark English, are arguably Ireland’s most improved side — and are certainly among the most hard-working.
They were Leinster’s top goalscorers this term, have secured IHL hockey for the first time and have hit 19 goals in three games as they saw off Glenanne, Three Rock and South Antrim en route to the last four. ’Garvey will nonetheless start as unbackable favourites having annexed a first IHL title last weekend, with tournament MVP Timmy Cockram in ruthless goalscoring form, and they are determined to complete a national double.
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