Hockey: Annadale carry Ulster flag
Published 22/04/2010 | 05:00
Annadale carry the burden of Ulster expectations into the semi-finals of the Irish Senior Cup as they take on Monkstown in Dun Laoghaire on Saturday, writes David Medcalf.
The last four is dominated by Dublin clubs, with Three Rock Rovers and Glenanne contesting the other half of the draw.
No northern side has captured the trophy since Lisnagarvey's success in 2005. 'Dale were beaten finalists not so long ago in '07 when the Belfast side ran Glenanne close in the decider.
Since then, the generation of David Smyth and Chris Jackson has given way to younger talents such as William Edgar and Richard Maybin.
They carry a punch at penalty corners, with Ian Hamilton a consistent goal scorer, while goalkeeper Johnny Moore is a redoubtable last line of defence.
But their opponents Monkstown have shown that they are well capable of beating the best on their own patch at Rathdown.
Cup runners-up in '08, they come into the semi-final fresh from their remarkable 4-3 win in the national league over Banbridge.
Eoin O'Connor has since declared himself fit to resume his position at the heart of the defence beside New Zealander Andy Ewington.
And in Gareth Watkins they have a mercurial talent capable of scoring brilliant individual goals.
Meanwhile, Three Rock Rovers entertain a Glenanne side that are waiting to take a decision on the fitness of Graham Shaw's knee.