Quins and C of I battle for final spot

CORK’S big two meet for the second time in a fortnight this weekend, with Cork Harlequins hoping home advantage can help swing things their way in their Peard Cup semi-final clash with Cork C of I at Harlequin Park tomorrow (12pm).

Quins will be thankful for another high-quality hit-out after their disappointing performance in the 2-0 IHL defeat by Corinthian last week, while C of I will be keen to remedy a relatively poor showing in the sides’ high-octane 3-3 league draw last month.

The other semi-final represents a massive opportunity for either Catholic Institute or Church of Ireland B; neither side are regulars in cup finals but the winner at Rosbrien will secure a St Stephen’s Day showpiece outing.

Institute are favourites by virtue of home advantage, and have been a handful for most sides this season. But they will need to prove there was no mental scarring from last weekend’s implosion against a rampant Bandon outfit, who left Limerick with a 6-0 win.

The west Cork outfit will look to replicate that form when they host UCC, in a league clash that should reveal much about the respective sides’ ambitions to nail down third place and an IHL wildcard playoff spot.

It’s quarter-final day in the Munster Senior Cup, where a repeat of last year’s UCC v C of I nervy clash at this juncture is set to be the highlight.

Holders College won out on penalty strokes last time out – ending a five-game losing streak against the Garryduff girls en route to a first cup win since 1995 – but C of I will be keen to make a statement against one of the top teams having endured a disappointing campaign so far.

Bandon head up the N20 to take on league pace-setters Institute, having been the only side to really trouble them so far this term. A single Elaine Bromell strike gave Ger O’Carroll’s charges a win last time out, the narrowest victory so far for an Institute side boasting a 100% record in all competitions so far.

There should be little to choose between Ashton and Waterford as they fight for a last four berth, but Quins’ home tie against struggling UL looks like a banker.

In Leinster, Pembroke’s men’s league showdown with Glenanne at Serpentine Avenue (1.30pm) is the marquee fixture.

Pembroke went back to the top of the table with a fraught 3-0 victory over Monkstown in midweek, and the champions will be fancied against a Glens side who have run into trouble in recent weeks. However, the experienced Tallaght side invariably save their best performances for these heavyweight clashes.


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