Hockey: Glens pinning Euro hopes on toppling Poles
Glenanne have no room for morning grouches in their squad as they bid to follow Pembroke Wanderers into the knock-out phase of the EuroHockey League.
The team from Tallaght has been handed early starts to their two games during their weekend in Spain, against Mannheimer of Germany and Grunwald Poznan from Poland.
The Germans, top of the Bundesliga, appear too strong to be greatly troubled by Glennane in the opening game tomorrow morning at Tarrassa in Catalonia, so the Irish representatives are pinning their hopes on putting one over on the Poles to take the second qualification spot on Saturday.
"We have an outside chance," said assistant coach Noel Keogh. "We're looking forward to this, big time, and we have put in a lot of work. We hope the experience of 12 months ago will be some help to the team."
On that occasion, they shipped 10 goals and scored just two as their challenge expired at the first hurdle, despite the presence of the prolific Stephen Butler.
'Butsy' is now on the books of the Antwerp Dragons, who are already through to the last 16 of the competition.
In his absence, the Glens have yet to find a replacement goal getter -- as last Saturday's scoreless draw with Corinthians underlined. Strong and ambitious, Shane O'Donoghue (17) looks to be grooming himself for the role, but he is not yet the finished article.
Grunwald Pozan have impressive pedigree, as 13 of the 18 in their panel have senior international experience.
But they have problems of their own, shipping a 7-3 defeat back home to Pomarzanin Torun and, for once, out of the top four in their domestic league.